One of John Calipari’s most impressive and most warming jobs of his tenure with Kentucky is the development of Nicholas Richards.
The raw 7-foot Jamaican arrived as a major project with limbs just long enough to earn him minutes on an already-depleted 2017-18 Kentucky team; and in 2018-19, he struggled to earn minutes over do-everything star PJ Washington and veteran rebounding monster Reid Travis in the frontcourt.
In 2019-20, with Richards needing to step up in the worst way to save Kentucky’s frontcourt, the rare enduring five-star broke out with a re-defining season.
Nick’s remarkable turnaround landed him a spot on the Naismith Award Midseason Top-30 Watch List, which in normal vernacular signifies critical consensus that Richards is one of the best 30 players in the country.
The junior sensation is obliterating his previous season averages, scoring 14.5 points per game, grabbing 8.2 rebounds, blocking 2.2 shots and converting on 66% of his shot attempts—the fifth highest mark in the nation.
There’s no question he should be considered among the best 30, as he’s been incredible this season. A 360˚ spin of public opinion from the fumbling freshman to agonizing sophomore to vital and beloved junior Player of the Year outsider.
Stay tuned, the accolades will keep coming for Nick.