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.
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: