Nick Richards had a breakout junior campaign and a couple weeks after the season came to a screeching halt, Richards announced his intent to enter the NBA Draft and sign with an agent.
Richards said that he arrived at that decision after meeting with the Kentucky coaching staff, according to an interview with Go Big Blue Country.
“I went into the meeting with the coaching staff, and they just thought I was ready to go. They were like, ‘Nick, it’s time, you’re ready,” Richards told Shawn Smith at GBBC.
This aligns with what many other former players have said about making a draft decision and that’s why Kentucky has been known as a players first program, and Richards said that was why he came to Kentucky.
Richards is projected as a second round pick, but looking at his game, you can see the role that Nick could play in the NBA as a big man who gives you a lot of athleticism, shot blocking ability, interior defense, and who can thrive at cleaning up the offensive glass.
However, there was no guarantee that if Richards returns for a senior season that he would boost his stock any more. He would be another year older, which NBA scouts do not necessarily look fondly upon. Richards would almost certainly improve his numbers, and at the worst match his junior year production, but there’s no guarantee that it would result in a draft stock increase while only increasing the risk of injury.
Some fans have long voiced displeasure with this approach, and while there have been some head-scratching decisions in the Cal era at Kentucky, Nick’s isn’t one of them. He has the ability to play in the NBA and after coming to Kentucky, growing and expanding his game, then shining in his junior year, Nick has been a prime example of the once-used UK slogan “Succeed and Proceed.”
Best of luck to Nick in the NBA Draft and make sure to check out Shawn Smith’s full story from his interview with Richards here.
Tweet of the Day
We, the Big Blue Nation, must come together as one community and demand a new standard.— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) June 2, 2020
We must do our part to establish equality, so we can make progress toward unity.
A statement from UK Athletics: pic.twitter.com/aUbUERncbw
UK releases its statement.
It appears every other school is returning June 8 but Kentucky is TBD.
Another big transfer for Matthew Mitchell.
The commonwealth lost one of the best.
That would be a bit strange, but I’m not complaining.
Hopefully it is safe for the NFL to return.
What rule do you want to see changed?