Only one Kentucky Wildcat made ESPN’s list of the Top 25 Players in College Basketball, and unless you’re Drew Franklin, it’s probably not the one you expected to at the beginning of the season.
Nick Richards comes in at No. 18 on John Gasaway’s list of the top performers in the sport midway through the season. As Gasaway notes, the junior big man has been unstoppable as of late.
Richards might be on the cusp of big things, or, alternately, maybe he’s enjoying a hot streak against so-so competition. In the past 11 days, he’s scored 51 points on 63% shooting inside the arc against Missouri, Georgia and Alabama. During that same span, the 6-foot-11 junior also blocked nine shots while having his way on the offensive glass. Is this the surge Kentucky fans have long been expecting from the No. 17 player nationally in the recruiting class of 2017? Possibly, and those fans will be even happier if Richards can capture all of the above gains while reducing his foul rate.
Other notable names in the rankings, which are based on college performance, not NBA potential: 1. Obi Toppin, Dayton; 2. Myles Powell, Seton Hall; 3. Vernon Carey, Duke; 7. Jordan Nwora, Louisville; 10. Cassius Winston, Michigan State; 23. Austin Wiley, Auburn.
If you have ESPN+, you can see the entire list at the link below.