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Kentucky is a Nick Richards away from a National Championship

For Kentucky to reach its potential, the Cats need Second Semester Nick Richards.

As John Calipari’s team hits midseason speed bumps, the head coach is unconcerned by the temporary struggles.  However, there’s one thing this team is still missing: a rim protector.

“Coach is basically emphasizing that if I’m a rim protector, we’re probably going to win a national championship,” Richards said this afternoon.  “That’s one of the key things we need to win a national championship, is a rim protector.

Richards has shown at times that the can fill that void.  Against North Carolina Richards had two blocks and six rebounds, and last Tuesday he recorded a pair of blocks against Texas A&M.

“When Nick plays and he competes and battles inside and fights for position, he blocks shots and rebounds above the rim, he is a disruptor defensively. He disrupts them,” said Calipari. “They can’t come flying in there. They can’t shoot anything near the basket because he’s going to block it. We need to have him on the floor more, and EJ (Montgomery) is the same. We’re still trying to figure it out.”

Richards and Montgomery are trying to figure it out in limited minutes.  In SEC play the two combine to average just over 20 minutes a game.  After Calipari’s pre-Georgia press conference, it sounds like that will no longer be par for the course.

“The advantage we have with the number we have (in the frontcourt), you’re not pressured to play great because if you just don’t play great, we’ll play somebody else and we’ll be fine. So whether it’s Nick playing instead of Reid (Travis), whether it’s EJ playing in front of PJ (Washington). But those two have to perform when they get their minutes and they get in.” Cal added: “OK, it’s not your game, not that big a deal. Let’s go to the next game and see what happens.”

What exactly will happen?  If Second Semester Nick Richards lives up to Drew Franklin’s expectations and becomes Kentucky’s rim protector, Calipari believes another banner is in UK’s future.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

31 Comments for Kentucky is a Nick Richards away from a National Championship

  1. KYCat4EVER
    7:09 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Ridiculous statement to make!

    Our CATS have a LOT to work on that one Richards isn’t going to solve!


    One player at this specific point in our season is totally responsible for UK winning the National Championship?

    If so you better hope Jordan or James is wearing KENTUCKY across their chest …


    • Bobbum Man
      7:49 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      I’m guessing it was more about motivating Nick than literally saying we’ll win a NC if he’s better but yeah…

    • KYCat4EVER
      8:26 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Probably correct Bobbum Man, and it’s possible I just want to see us improve, like all my fellow CATS fans and got a little miffed with the Statement! Thanks for the perspective!

      GO BIG BLUE!

  2. Luether
    7:15 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    “If Second Semester Nick Richards lives up to Drew Franklin’s expectations and becomes Kentucky’s rim protector, Calipari believes another banner is in UK’s future.”

    Preposterous statement!

    It’ll take a lot more than this…

  3. bigblue98
    7:31 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    This is a joke, unless it’s also in the context if 1) PJ shows up every game, 2) Reid mans up and stops missing or turning the ball over two feet from the basket, 3) Tyler plays defense and shot improves, 4) Keldon doesn’t disappear at times, and 5) EJ becomes more of a contributor. It’s crazy to even write an article putting that pressure on Richards. This team can be really good but improvement needs to occur from all those guys. Right now the only one consistently bringing it every game is Hagans. His defense is outstanding – the other guys need to follow his lead. Haven’t heard much about early morning or late night workouts. Right now maybe their motto should be “Given Not Earned”

  4. ChetSteadmansSalisburySteak
    7:34 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    One of the most asinine articles I’ve read on this sight, and that’s saying something. How did this writing make it past approval of an editor? Not even worthy of sparking a debate. Just plain nonsense.

  5. thatCat
    7:38 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Well it’s Roush and he is garbage so…

  6. bigbluebanana
    7:42 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    I’m one of the biggest resident homers here, and even I think we need a little more than Richards blocking shots to win a title. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll help a lot, and I still 100% believe UK can cut down the nets, but we need more than just that.

    • BigolBlue
      8:41 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      100% ?? Come on. Even the biggest homer ever wouldnt put this mediocre team at 100%. The oddmakers have us at 16/1 or a 6% chance

    • bigbluebanana
      10:19 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      I didn’t, in any way, say this team is 100%. Learn to read dummy. I said I 100% believe that this team could cut them down. The 100% refers to my belief in the team. I know that anything that doesn’t have pictures, or if your mom isn’t reading it to you, doesn’t make sense. But do try and keep up azzhat.

    • BigolBlue
      10:58 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Your head is so big its gonna explode

    • catsarerunnin
      7:31 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

      If your head exploded only pixie dust would come out.

  7. Dowser
    7:46 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    If we’re counting on Richards we’re in trouble. Great athletic tools, but terribly slow reactions and no anticipation. Maybe these things will eventually come but probably not this year. I was hoping EJ would be the answer.

    • DelrayCat
      8:08 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      Yeah…this article could just be about both guys stepping up in unison for UK to be exceptional this year. Relying on Travis and Washington to log huge minutes alone in the post will spell disaster for Kentucky at the end.

    • jakew60
      6:12 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

      Richards reminds me of Willie when he was that young so I can see him developing into an eventual dominant player for us and maybe we’ll get a little taste late this year

  8. Bobbum Man
    7:50 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Geez people, as I said above I’m guessing this was more Cal trying to motivate Richards than him talking literally…. relax guys

  9. henderblue
    7:52 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    All I read was the headline and I absolutely agree. He’s a huge key for this team. A rim protector. His one problem is the refs are drawn to him like a magnet. He gets more ticky tack b.s calls than any UK big man I can remember. And that takes away his aggressiveness.

  10. DelrayCat
    8:05 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Contrary to some of the other posters, I completely agree with this assessment. Nick Richards in the paint changes Kentucky…but only if he plays well. Washington and Travis, albeit good and solid bigs, are neither long nor athletic. They are both strong enough to be good rebounders, but not post defenders. Nor can they effectively switch to a smaller player when high screened…hence both are constantly getting beat to the rim….especially Travis. A weak side defender like Richards could help dramatically.

    • KYjellyRoll
      8:35 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      This isn’t our full problem as of right now. Although I do believe nick should start over Travis. Keep guys from getting straight in Travis face and jumping over him to lay it in.

  11. kjd
    8:16 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    Wow. Two blocks a game for Richards and we win the title.
    Then the alarm went off and we return to the real world.

  12. michaelb
    8:33 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    This is very true . I see a lot of pompous taints bumping their sausage fingers off the key board , bc they just write stupid shit and beat their dogs to let out frustration . This kid is an untapped, big part of our program . He can very much be a difference maker . It takes a knowledgeable person to see this , hence all the nay Sayers in this comment section . You hecklers need another hobby . I can’t stand the stupidity on ksr comments sections hardly . You guys are embarrassing. Go f your mothers

    • kjd
      9:32 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

      Crude and insulting comments. I would think a self-employed proclaimed knowledgeable person as you, michaelb, imply you are, could express yourself in a dignified way.

    • kjd
      10:34 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

      Stupid auto fill……self-proclaimed. I failed to proof read.

  13. VirginiaCat
    8:39 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    First, lets not kill the messenger (Roush). He is reporting what Cal said. There is no doubt that we would be a more competitive team if Richards played up to his potential, but there is at least one more elephant in the room. We are among the worst in the nation when it comes to the 3-point game. Out of 351 D1 teams, we rank 342 in attempts, 326 in made 3-pointers, and we rank 342 in 3-point defense. We rank 163 in 3-point shooting percentage. That suggests that we have to shoot a few more 3-pointers per game and it is imperative that we figure out how to defend against the long ball. Our 3-point game is badly out of whack and if we don’t correct it, we aren’t going far this year. What concerns me most is that I doubt that Cal has looked carefully at the stats and drawn appropriate conclusions. He is saying that Richards is the key to a national championship, but apparently less concerned how badly we are being hurt by a vastly inferior 3-point game.

    • makeitstop
      8:54 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

      I’m inclined to agree – when u give up outside shots at the rate we do and u shoot poorly to compound it, not sure the shot blocker is the number one need. It would probably reduce the inside out game of our opponents a little and stop the frenzied close outs from someone who had to drop into the paint to double team… but it won’t help us address problem on offense. EJ might. Loosening up the D in the paint by having another scoring option with some 12-15 foot range would help all our big men score but also give the guards more room to work, and hopefully hit. As they say – good shooting solves a lot of problems.

  14. StillBP
    9:30 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    And Duke just lost to unranked Syracuse at home. Fire K, hire BigolBlue

  15. ScratchtheMascot
    9:43 pm January 14, 2019 Permalink

    I’m sure he didn’t sit there and tell Richards we need him to be a rim protector to win a NC, then proceed to tell Richards what Hagans needs to do and then what Washington needs to do. He probably limited his discussion to Richards to motivate him and then told the rest of the guys something similar in their context.

    • blueballs80
      12:44 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

      If we have to rely on Nick for a championship, we are in deep doodoo. I hope I am wrong and will eat crow but right now, this team has way too many slow starts and Nick is non-reliable on offense and sometimes present on defense. This is his 2nd year in Cal’s system and he still can’t score 5 points a game and lord help us if Travis and PJ are in foul trouble.

  16. blueblood4life
    1:09 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

    I agree totally Nick could be the X factor to a title ! The more SEC games we play the more stronger we will be in March ! Defense will be this teams strongest thing come title time!

  17. Wildcat_blues1029
    9:09 am January 15, 2019 Permalink

    Finally time to start taking guys out if they’re not playing hard or committed to playing defense. P.J. Time is coming short is what I got from this statement. Nick has developed nicely this season and if he continues to improve we’ll become a better team. With his rim protection at a elite level will get us more opportunities on offense.