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BREAKING: Nick Richards declares for the NBA Draft

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!”

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.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

37 Comments for BREAKING: Nick Richards declares for the NBA Draft

  1. UKLugo
    11:18 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    And the hits just keep coming.

  2. UKBigBlueForever
    11:20 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    We pretty much knew this was happening. Still don’t understand why some of these people leave when they are at Best 2nd round picks. I do understand Nick’s decision though. I think he’s gonna do great at the next level. He’s gotten so much quicker laterally that he’ll contribute on the defensive end of things in the pros. I think whoever gets Nick is gonna be extremely happy!

  3. Heavy C
    11:20 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Of course he does. Same old.

    • calcat
      12:32 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      Mad at young men for chasing their dream. Pitiful

  4. Alex90
    11:23 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Terrible fans incoming…but but but “I” don’t like the decision. “I” think it’s a dumb decision. “I” think he sucks.

    • CatsfaninFL
      11:27 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

      Mmhmm and none of them have any personal knowledge of the player or the feedback they’re getting. Not. A. Single. One.

      I will miss Nick and love that he joined the group of guys who were able to stick around and still achieve their dreams. Everyone is different and won’t have the same path! Wish him the best!

  5. tdub
    11:24 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Good luck to you Nick. Thanks from BBN

  6. KYJelly
    11:28 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    It’s a weird situation for him. If he had this year as a freshman he’d be a potential lottery pick, but because he’s a junior he’s a second round guy. Considering he started playing basketball much later than other prospects, you’d think the NBA would put 2 and 2 together

    • JASUN74
      11:47 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

      Jelly, I hate to be that guy, BUT, if you think they’re just going to pay Nick a Million dollars or more, And not know anything about him, I don’t know what to tell you!! I’m sure they’ll put two and two together! They do this for a living and know what they’re doing. They’ll know every single thing about anyone they pick and pay that much money. Also, I guarantee they know his back story and how long he’s played basketball. Lol.

  7. natedaddy
    11:33 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Good for him and good luck to him, but I don’t even care anymore who leaves. I get more excited hearing when guys come back another year

    11:39 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Good luck Nick. Getting him in the 2nd rd is a steal! And just bc they get drafted in the 2nd rd doesn’t mean automatic GLeague. 2nd rd picks get signed multi year every yr. Just not guarantee like 1st rd. Plus Nick is 23 his age played a part in him leaving. Most fans just selfishly want him back, but he’s ready. NOW EJ on the other hand needs to come back, if he wants to stay in the NBA or even G League. But from his father dumb a** comments saying he’s ready for the NBA, doesn’t seem like EJ is comin back. If that’s the case, we’re going to need Haarms and another big at the 5

  9. BlueSteel
    11:40 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Good Luck Nick!!! You deserve this!!

  10. UKFanSC
    11:41 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    This was expected, and proper for Nick to get paid. If sanity prevails EJ will come back and grow exponentially like Nick. Thanks for the memories Nick. Best of luck big fella.

  11. dhard
    11:52 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Thanks Nick for being part of the BBN and may God bless you on your journey.

  12. michaelb
    11:52 am April 14, 2020 Permalink

    It was really fun to watch nick grow as a person and player , thank you for it all . Many blessings in your future

  13. Fitz
    12:08 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Cals UK Basketball Program = “The gift that keeps on giving.”

  14. zoupman
    12:20 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Best wishes to Nick. I just hope NBA plays next year.

  15. Dr. Tom
    12:28 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Nick you have been one of my favorite UK players. Even early in your struggles to learn the game the BBN fanbase was rooting hard for you. It was so refreshing to see you blossom in your junior year and become a leader for the team. You will be remembered as a fan favorite and will receive much love every time you come back to Lexington. Always stay humble, work hard and you will be rewarded. Oh and one other thing, your girlfriend is a keeper so you better hang on to her!! Go get’em Nick.

  16. calcat
    12:38 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    On no the sky is falling. 90% of fans at the beginning of the year didn’t even want Richards to play now they are mad he’s leaving. I don’t understand our fans. Some of them will never be happy. If you get mad at a young man from Jamaica chasing his dreams of playing in the nba you need to take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself what is wrong with you. Do you think these players would get mad at you if you worked for a company for one year and was making $30,000 a year and you decided to take another job with a different company doing the same job while making $5,000,000. Come on “fans” get a life. Be happy for these young men.

  17. Larkin123
    1:11 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Cals style has won it all once

    Jones Lamb Miller


    • secrick
      1:33 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      Tell me someone’s style that has one it more than once in the last 20 years. Duke same style as Cal.

    • snoopjdawg
      2:19 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      Cal also had 5 freshmen starting in the title game in 2014. Doesn’t matter if he won it or not. We were there.

  18. snoopjdawg
    2:18 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Cal and his style is averaging 30 wins per year and we are at the top of college basketball. All the Cal haters will be sick when he retires and we drop back a bit.

    Nick had no choice but to leave. He can’t risk going backwards next year.

    We have lost 7 guys from last years squad including Whitney, Sestina and Juzang. EJ will be next I’m sure making it 8. Next year we will be Top 5 again.

    Some will say, “well if the players stayed longer we would have more titles”. You don’t know that. Do you want Calipari recruiting the best and winning 30 games a year? I do.

    • T-Town Cat
      3:10 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      We will probably be OK, but not Top 5. Who in next year’s starting 5 will be better than his counterpart on this past year’s team?

  19. dave1964
    2:30 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Hate to see him go last year was hoping he would leave good luck nick.

  20. Swizzle
    2:32 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Enjoyed watching him get better. Hope he makes it. Good luck young man.

  21. MrFlip41129
    2:37 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    I seen him on the Street after the Auburn game last year. I shouted as a grown man, “Holy shit That’s Nick Richards!!” Kid was super cool he just put his head down and smiled. He was with his GF and few others didn’t want to bother him. Always be one of my favorite Cats. Miss you Nick.

  22. CJKAssassin123
    2:49 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    EJ Montgomery is as good as gone now.

    • Swizzle
      2:52 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      If you are correct, I’ll preemptively call him a moron. He won’t make it if he leaves now.

    • CJKAssassin123
      4:10 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      EJ’s father has said that it makes no sense for his son to return to UK for another season. You combine that with Cal admitted to us that 5 have entered the draft and we now know that 4 wildcats have which means Cal was right it’s not hard to put things together especially when they line up like that. EJ is gone he probably will announce his decision either later on tonight or tomorrow.

    • Alex90
      3:37 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      He should see this as the exact situation Nick was in last year and see what the obvious choice is.

  23. Bluebloodtoo
    4:17 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    I’m happy for Nick. He stuck with it through the rough times and now he’s ready to take a step up to play with the big boys. He’ll have some growing pains, but if he keeps that same confidence and work ethic, he’ll be just fine in time. Congrats!

  24. michaelb
    4:35 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    It’s not easy to play for Cal, this man did it three years in a row !! He’s got serious testicular fortitude . He started out as hamburger meat , then popped out on the other side as a steak . Bbn overlooks the personal aspect of it all sometimes . Just be thankful he gave us that third year . He coulda easily went and gave it to some other school

    • Bluehender
      6:31 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink


  25. Aar
    6:09 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

    Before this season I said, with a double edged sword, that the Cats would go as far as Nick Richards carried them. I’m proud of what he and the team accomplished in his final year at UK and wish him all of the best in his future.

    • Bluehender
      6:31 pm April 14, 2020 Permalink

      …And this ^^^^

  26. Buffalo Cat
    11:11 am April 15, 2020 Permalink

    Nick may not be a sure NBA player (frankly I think his first step is way too slow and he does not appear to always work hard on the court) but he was here three years. We should literally never expect anyone to be here more than three years.