Kentucky center Nick Richards is taking his talents to the NBA.
After three years in Lexington, Richards announced this morning that he would be forgoing the remainder of his eligibility at Kentucky and entering the NBA Draft.
“After our win at Texas Tech I talked about how everyone who comes to Kentucky has their own path,” Richards said in a statement. “Thanks to the best coaching staff in the country and my amazing teammates I’ve continued to develop my game and improved each and every year. I told you then that I’ve had the time of my life suiting up for the best fans in the country and I stand by that.
“I’ve had the chance to meet incredible people and be pushed in all phases of my life. That’s thanks to Coach Cal, KP (Kenny Payne), Tony (Barbee), Joel (Justus), Robes (John Robic) and each one of my teammates. I want to thank Rob (Harris), Michael Stone, our trainers, the managers and everyone who played a role in my development during my time at Kentucky. I also need to thank my family and Leah (Edmond), who have always been my biggest supporters. Without you, none of this is possible.
“My No. 1 goal when I came to Kentucky was to compete for a national championship. I’m sorry we didn’t have the chance to play for one this year and bring a trophy home to Kentucky, and although I’d love nothing more than to achieve that goal, it is time for me to pursue my ultimate dream of becoming an NBA player.
“I’m confident that I’m prepared for this step because of my time at Kentucky. I plan to forgo my remaining eligibility and will be signing with an agency. Thank you Big Blue Nation for welcoming me into your family. I heard your cheers and they meant everything to me. I hope you know I left it all on the court and will forever be thankful that I chose to play here. Go Cats!”
Thank you to everyone that was apart of the journey ?? pic.twitter.com/gBXdCdMJOq
— Nick Richards (@iamnickrichards) April 14, 2020
After averaging 4.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game in the first two seasons of his career, Richards turned into an All-SEC First-Team player in 2019-20, putting up 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per contest.
“Of all the kids that we’ve coached who have elevated and benefitted from the culture we’ve built here, I would say Nick is at the top of the list,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement. “Nick’s ability to self-evaluate and block out the clutter for the last three seasons has shown incredible maturity. To be able to look inward and say, ‘I need more time and I wouldn’t trade this time at Kentucky for anything in the world,’ says a lot about Nick.
“What Nick has been able to do with his body, his mind and mastering his skills, it’s been incredible and rewarding to watch as a coach. It’s been a pleasure to see him grow into the player and the young man he has become, and he’s done it all because of his hard work and his dedication. It has all paid off.
“Nick will leave here as a fan favorite and deservedly so because of the way he’s handled himself both on and off the court. He’s become the best version of himself and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Go get your money, Nick.