If Nick Richards was upset by being snubbed from the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finalist list, he didn’t show it on the court Saturday afternoon.
It was business as usual for the Wildcats big man, as he dropped a cool 15 points and seven rebounds. While UK has almost come to expect a double-double from Richards, it was his scoring efficiency that was on display, as he was 5/5 from the field and 5/6 from the free-throw line.
The Abdul-Jabbar Award is supposed to go to the top center in the country. The top 10 finalists list was released Friday. Here were the finalists:
- Vernon Carey (Duke)
- Omer Yurtseven (Georgetown)
- Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga)
- Luka Garza (Iowa)
- Udoka Azubuike (Kansas)
- Daniel Oturu (Minnesota)
- Kaleb Wesson (Ohio State)
- Onyeka Okongwu (USC)
- Isaiah Stewart (Washington)
- Nathan Knight (William & Mary)
Richards is one of two players this season averaging 14-plus points with a shooting percentage of 65% or better, eight-plus rebounds and two-plus blocks. The other is Shamarkus Kennedy from McNeese State (James Wiseman also averaged that in his short time with the Memphis Tigers, but he is no longer with the program and only played in three games).
Richards has very few people in his ballpark statistically this season, which makes the snub perplexing.
UK technically lists Richards as a forward, which could be the reason for him being left off, but he plays the five position for the Wildcats, and previous winners of the award have been listed as forwards (like Frank Kaminsky, the Wisconsin Badgers big man who won the award in 2015).