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Nick Richards declares for the NBA Draft

You have got to be happy for the big guy.

Nick Richards Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

It’s official. Nick Richards is entering his name into the 2020 NBA Draft and will forgo his remaining eligibility.

Very few players have improved as quickly and drastically at Richards during the John Calipari era. Most players that have struggled early have ended up leaving for other opportunities. But Richards is the rare five-star McDonald’s All-American that spent three years at Kentucky, and boy did it pay off.

Richards averaged 14 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game during the season. Had it not been for a herculean effort from Immanuel Quickley, Richards would have had a shot at being the SEC Player of the Year.

Perhaps the most important thing we saw from Richards this year was his resilience. He did have a bad game or two. He stayed in foul trouble in many games. But no matter what went against him, he never folded. He played hard. He played smart. He played within himself. And he made himself a lot of money.

Toward the end of the season, Richards was creeping his way into the first round on many mock drafts. He currently sits in the middle of the second round on most predictions. But if there was ever a guy to take a flyer on toward the bottom of the first round, it’s Richards. They don’t make a lot of 7-footers that can move like Richards and hit mid-range jump shots.

I am not convinced that he will have a dominant NBA career. But with the determination, work ethic, and development he showed while in Lexington, I refuse to believe that he will not have success in the long-term.

Good luck, big fella.

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