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John Calipari on Nick Richards: “He’s not the same player”

What started as a lighthearted joke is now a reality: Sophomore Nick Richards is here, and he’s here to stay.

The 6-foot-11 center led the Cats with 19 points, three rebounds, two blocks, and a steal in their 85-61 victory over the Bahamas National Team, showing just a bit of everything on the floor. He was comfortable, he was confident, and he was arguably the best player on the floor.

If you ask John Calipari, however, it wasn’t a surprise at all.

“Oh wow,” he told the media in the postgame press conference. “Like all the kids, there’s a lot of stuff to grow. He’s not the same player. Like I told him, if you make your free throws like that, get fouled. Ball fake, don’t fade away. Go to the rim and shoot through people. He played well. Blocked some shots.”

Best of all, he’s confident, a major turn of events from last season.

“He has spent some time with (sports psychologist) Bob Rotella… When things don’t go well, I tell him that it’s not last year. (He’s) way better,” said Calipari.

Richards wasn’t the only player that impressed Coach Cal.

“I thought Ashton (Hagans) added a bit of toughness, I think Keldon (Johnson) pressed a little bit, some of the guys pressed. Tyler (Herro) played well, first half especially,” he said.

Like all young teams just getting started in the season, the Cats got tired early. And that’s okay.

“The game was rough and fast, and they lost their legs,” said Calipari. “But I’m really happy their national team came at us and didn’t go away. Their national team made a run to start the second half, so we could see what would happen. They needed to learn, but I saw some good stuff.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

11 Comments for John Calipari on Nick Richards: “He’s not the same player”

  1. original slappy
    10:14 pm August 8, 2018 Permalink

    3 boards? Against this competition? Get outta here with that crap. He had a 20-20 game last season too then disappeared.

    • Parker_UKFanNC
      10:25 pm August 8, 2018 Permalink

      Reid had 14 and the ones Richard came down with were strong, two handed boards

  2. yodasgreendong
    10:27 pm August 8, 2018 Permalink

    I agree with slappy , to an extent. I think we should temper our expectations of Richards…for now. He did have that 20/20 game last year and everyone jumped on his wagon, and when he didn’t keep it up, we turned on him pretty badly, and it certainly got to him mentally. This was the first game of a season that really hasn’t started yet. He looked great tonight, way better than most of last year. I’m just saying we shouldn’t label him good to go just yet, let the game come to him. Him feeling pressured to be a beast is what likely messed with him last year.

    • Wade
      10:07 am August 9, 2018 Permalink

      I just want 12 points and 8 rebounds from the man each night or around that’s it for this yr and that’s achievable for both him and Reid together they should drop 24 and grab 16 boards. That’s fine with me bc there’s still ej to get 10 and 5

  3. bradbcats
    10:27 pm August 8, 2018 Permalink

    He did look better. I don’t want to be a debbie downer but he had 2 quick fouls. Im undecided on whether it was poor guard defense or not.

  4. tree_gardener
    10:50 pm August 8, 2018 Permalink

    They are going 40-0

  5. peaches76
    11:38 pm August 8, 2018 Permalink

    Yep…hype him up after one summer league scrimmage…typical

  6. UKfanman01
    5:35 am August 9, 2018 Permalink

    Pretty sure last time I checked NONE of the haters in, or out of, BBN are on the team. Which means you suck a lot worse than Richards. I love how ignorant fans are putting this kid on blast because he had a good game. Then some wonder why recruits skip out. I’m not saying UK is losing a ton of recruits because of fans but dear God, this kid had a great game, give him credit when credit is due. When you make the roster or beat Richards in a one on one then you can talk smack. Until then stfu and hate on someone else

    • Cokely53
      8:36 am August 9, 2018 Permalink

      No one is putting the kid on blast. Dial it down a bit. People are just tired of the same old narrative. A kid has one good game and all of sudden he’s turned the corner and an All American. People are just saying slow down on hyping him until he’s shown more consistency.

    7:06 am August 9, 2018 Permalink

    I was surprised at Reid’s “shell shock” early in the game. He was playing wide eyed and SOFT for a grown man. Hopefully his offensive game will come back, but at least he’s rebounding!

  8. jimmer
    7:23 am August 9, 2018 Permalink

    Happy for Richards but pump the brakes. Let him have a good game without piling on huge expectations already. They didn’t have any comparable big man inside. And it’s just one exhibition game. Glad to see the potential but let’s back off heavy expectations for his sake.