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Kentucky coaches to Nick Richards during NBA Draft process: “It’s time, you’re ready.”

Nick Richards’ story has had its fair shares of ups and downs. To start his Kentucky basketball career, the former five-star recruit struggled to find consistent production on the floor, averaging just 5.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14.7 minutes per contest as a freshman. He would follow it up with 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in just 12.1 minutes per game as a sophomore.

As the struggles continued, his confidence waned, with Richards then deciding to turn to sports psychologists and NBA legends to break through that mental and physical wall in year three.

Break through he would, as the 6-foot-11 center went on to average 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per contest as a junior before declaring for the NBA Draft.

Considering the adversities to begin his career, did the now-former Wildcat ever think twice about riding through the waves in Lexington?

In an exclusive interview with Shawn Smith of Go Big Blue Country, Richards said there wasn’t a single time in his Kentucky career that he thought UK wasn’t the place for him.

“Honestly, not one moment in my mind that I had that thought,” Richards told Go Big Blue Country. “I always knew I wanted to be at Kentucky ever since I was a sophomore in high school. Kentucky was my dream school. When I got the offer to come here, mentally, I knew I was coming here regardless of what happened. I was willing to take on the challenge.”

While the journey took longer than anticipated, Richards said he trusted his faith to eventually push him through to success.

“It took longer than I expected, but my mom always told me it’s God’s plan,” Richards said. “If God was telling me to be here for three years, that was his plan.”

As the season came to a screeching halt and he quickly had to transition to the decision-making process, Richards actually considered a return to Kentucky for his senior season.

When he approached the UK coaching staff during the process, though, they said he had earned a spot in the NBA after fighting through so much adversity in his time in Lexington.

After three years, it was “time.”

“I’m not even going to lie to you, my coaches made the decision for me to go to the NBA,” Richards told Go Big Blue Country. “In the back of my mind, I was thinking, what should I do? Should I stay? Should I come back? 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.’”

For the entire article on Richards’ journey to the NBA Draft and his time at Kentucky, check out Shawn Smith’s article over at Go Big Blue Country. 

While you’re at it, watch KSR’s Maggie Davis’ recent interview with Richards, along with his superstar girlfriend, Leah Edmond:

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

10 Comments for Kentucky coaches to Nick Richards during NBA Draft process: “It’s time, you’re ready.”

  1. Bluebloodtoo
    8:05 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

    Good luck Nick! Side note: You two are gonna make some ginormous kids (maybe…. someday). Lol

  2. njcat
    10:57 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

    If he doesn’t go in the first round it was NOT the right decision.

    Why the coaches feel obligated to push these borderline guys out the door is really frustrating. Had he come back and had an even better senior year he could have been a top 10 pick. Combined with a final 4 appearance or a championship, everybody wins.

    • 4everUKBlue
      7:24 am June 3, 2020 Permalink

      I’m pretty sure he was not pushed, that it was his decision unless you have some inside info.

    • Corder
      10:43 am June 3, 2020 Permalink

      That’s one less year in the league if he came back and apparently you people haven’t learned that the nba doesn’t look at it like y’all do. Kids that are seniors don’t get paid as much because of their age even if they are good players. Just look at Williams for tenn. last year. Very good college player but there was a reason he didn’t go pro the first 3 years he was at tenn.

  3. chris43
    1:16 am June 3, 2020 Permalink

    Naturally I hope all UK players do great in the NBA. But I’m rooting for Nick just a tad more. All the ups and downs and then finally to break through and ARRIVE after so much struggle. He’ll definitely faces many challenges in the NBA but if he’ll keep his head up and continue to work hard there’s no doubt he’ll have a long career.

  4. Ez21
    6:22 am June 3, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t understand why he’s projected to go higher now. I mean he’s an athletic big that can move and has an excellent mid range game. Honestly I would rather have Nick than WCS who went 6th overall. Willie was the better def player but Nick has a much better offensive game. What else does Nick have to do to move up?

  5. millertim
    9:21 am June 3, 2020 Permalink

    And yet another reason why Coach Cal has only one title in 30 years of coaching… He is hired to win titles at UK, not push athletes into the draft so he can use it as a recruiting pitch. Congrats Cal, you’ve had the #1 or 2 rated classes every year you’ve been at UK and only won ONE title…

    • 4everUKBlue
      9:43 am June 3, 2020 Permalink

      Do you have some inside info that Cal pushed him or any other player into the draft besides Cousins? If you’re not happy with this program there are many other programs, find one that live up to your expectations. BBN does not need you.

  6. bosch8184
    1:55 pm June 3, 2020 Permalink

    Narrator: He isn’t ready. Better enjoy Turkey or Israel.

  7. millertim
    4:16 pm June 4, 2020 Permalink

    4everUKBlue— love how you didn’t address any of my assertions. I’ve been a UK fan probably longer than you’ve been alive and will be till the day I die! The point is, Coach Cal was hired to WIN AT UK, not put out lottery picks for the NBA. I cheer for UK, not draft picks. I understand its a great recruiting tool but as a FAN I WANT TITLES!! I would hope you would too, since you claim to be a fan. I will always support whomever is the coach at UK like I always have but no coach is above criticism and I listed a few of mine. I’m not a blind follower of anyone and express my opinion when it is warranted. Too many UK players under Coach Cal have been pushed out of college into the draft when they weren’t ready. I’m sure it’s part of Cal’s recruiting of Top Ten talent that he “makes room” for the new guys. In the latest NBA mock draft, Nick Richards and Montgomery aren’t even listed or being talked about in the draft making them most likely G-League players— big difference from another year at top rate college program playing every week on national television. Ther’s not enough room on here to list all the “one and done” failures under Coach Cal and now he’s turning to transfer portal and graduate players for experience… I’m sure you missed my point…