Nick Richards has officially entered the 2019 NBA Draft.
Despite Richards seemingly being a guy who needed a third year of college, there was always a very real possibility he could test the waters or even transfer. However, the way he worded his announcement makes it sound like he is ready to come back if it’s not time to begin his pro career.
I can’t wait to go through this process thank you for your support BBN pic.twitter.com/kO7D9XquzD— Nick Richards (@iamnickrichards) April 22, 2019
Coming into Kentucky, the 6-11 center was ranked as a five-star, top-20 prospect by all major recruiting services. He was projected to be a first round pick before his freshman season started, but it hasn’t exactly gone as planned.
Despite starting all 37 games as a freshman, Richards only averaged 5.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. However, he showed flashes of his potential, like putting up a 25-15 game in his first year in Lexington. He just hasn’t put it all together yet.
Richards chose to return for a sophomore season, opting not to even test the waters. It wasn’t an option for him. He was right where he wanted to be and knew he had a lot to work on.
The Big Blue Nation was split on their expectations for Nick going into this past season. He was dominant in the Bahamas and fans finally started believing in him again. But he still just wasn’t there yet.
With the addition of Reid Travis and the return of PJ Washington, Nick’s minutes dropped as did his overall production. After starting all 37 games as a freshman, Richards only started three as a sophomore.
That’s not to say he was worse in his sophomore season compared to his freshman season. To the contrary, I think he improved tremendously, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
In his sophomore campaign, Richards averaged 3.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. That included one heck of a performance against Vanderbilt back in February when he put up 14 points.
Of course, he’s not the dominant post presence we’ve become accustomed to under Coach Cal, but he’s what many fans have begged for: a three or four-year player. Remember, Nick had only been playing basketball for a handful of years before arriving at Kentucky. He was raw, but had a lot of potential with his length and athleticism.
Now, Richards will go through the draft process and likely make a final decision sometime in late May.