clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kentucky Basketball Film Room: Sophomore Nick Richards is the real deal

Richards showcased why he started over Reid Travis in the Bahamas and is now a force to be reckoned with.

Nick Richards Sea of Blue

You could say that Nick Richards swatted away his doubters with his prolific play on both sides of the ball in the Bahamas.

After struggling mightily to impact games offensively in his freshman year, Richards showcased a more comfortable feel for scoring, as well as an advanced utilization of his offensive skill set.

Primarily the improved timing of his shot attempts and his fluidity in hitting post hooks and floaters allowed Nick to dominate just about every matchup that came his way.

Richards also showed more comfort in taking mid-range jump shots, something he has always had in his arsenal but could never position himself well enough to get consistent, comfortable looks from that area.

All of that appears to have changed in the offseason.

Adding a cherry on top of an already impressive and improved showing in the exhibitions is that Richards also showed improved footwork, increased assertiveness and basketball IQ on several scores around the rim.

Having higher volume as a scorer will be the biggest factor in how big of a role Richards plays on this team. He will always be able to have high efficiency percentages, but in order to keep himself on the floor longer than 15 minutes a game, Richards has to contribute consistent scoring production around the rim.

In terms of playing defense, however, there is little to be concerned with. Richards put on a massive highlight show with his rim protection by emphatically blocking shots.

Whether it was in man-to-man situations or playing help defense on the baseline, Richards showed impeccable timing on these blocks.

Richards has the physical capability at 7-foot and the offensive skills to be a high-level starting center and a potential first-round NBA Draft pick.

With an enhanced level of comfort and fluidity in his play along with an heightened sense for being aggressive and making plays, Nick Richards perhaps has the most NBA upside of anybody on this Kentucky team by year’s end.