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Reid Travis sacrificed minutes for Nick Richards

© Jim Brown | USATSI

© Jim Brown | USATSI

With his team up by a comfortable margin, John Calipari had one mission last night: help Nick Richards break through. Coming into the Vanderbilt game, Richards had played well in spurts, but for Kentucky to make a run at the title, the sophomore big man needs to do it on a consistent basis.

I told Reid I’ve got to get Nick in there and let him play through some of this stuff because we’ve got to get Nick going,” Cal said.

As the mature fifth-year senior he is, Travis was more than happy to oblige, especially on a night where he was struggling anyways.

“Today, Reid gave up some minutes for Nick. What does it matter?” Cal said of who gets the most minutes.

Richards finished with a season-high 14 points and four blocks, but still made a few mistakes that drove Cal crazy.

“Again, he checked out on his rebounds, he had a tip dunk on him, you know, and so, we’re back to, look man, this is your responsibility and if you want these minutes, you’ve got to do something.”

It seems like every time Calipari raves about players sacrificing minutes for each other, it ends up being a special season. Just saying.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

25 Comments for Reid Travis sacrificed minutes for Nick Richards

  1. BluemanGreen
    11:28 am January 30, 2019 Permalink

    Nick gets scrutinized and picked apart more than any other player by Cal. He’s got more talent than Reid ever dreamed of. They should split minutes more regularly. Before you call me crazy look up their per 40 min stats. Nick puts up better numbers in the time he is given…which has been sparse. He has 9 BLOCKS IN 23 MINUTES in his last 2 games…i would venture to say without looking that Reid doesnt have 9 all season and if so, barely. Is Reid more polished? play smarter? of course. But Nicks talent is wasted sitting on the bench and yanking him out of the game for ever single mistake he makes. Ever think he might do better without looking over his shoulder every second he is in the game? And as far as the play Cal keeps saying he got dunked on…if you re watch it…he looks for somebody to block out…they are not in his line of sight because of a bad angle….when he then turns to go rebound the guy comes out of his blind side and arguably goes over his back for the dunk…it was nowhere near as bad as Cal made it out to be. All that being said. Just give him 15 minutes per game. He doesnt have to take Reids spot. But let him PLAY. Give him extended run and dont yank him because he makes 1 mistake. Then you will see the real Nick Richards and it will be awesome!

    • ClutchCargo
      11:42 am January 30, 2019 Permalink

      We’ve been through this every year, so it’s nothing new. A talented, but raw, young player is given very specific things the coaching staff wants him to do. If he does what he is told, he stays in. If he doesn’t, he comes out. Letting him stay in there for 15 minutes, no matter what he does, doesn’t help him or the team.

    • henderblue
      12:02 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      Agree with pretty much everything you say. Another thing that hurts his minutes is he gets more cheap ticky tack fouls called on him than anyone I can remember.

    • bigbluebanana
      1:00 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      I agree on concept blue green. My main argument against it though are the intangibles Reid seems to bring. When Reid is on the court, he seems to be a steadying presence out there. If we go down a few, you can count on him to at least get to the line or let the offense run through him. Nick is absolutely an X factor though, and especially in games like last night, he should get more PT. I agree with clutch too though, maybe there is a happy median between every play nick makes being nit picked by Cal and the lesson and benefit clutch mentioned? I see a similar argument for EJ too, as I think with 100% seriousness that if he and Nick reach anywhere close to 100% this season, we hang number 9 and it’s not even close. If Baker can give us 2-3 threes per game, then really watch out!! I just thing Reid is vital for us, even when his game is not on.

    • unbridled
      5:17 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      Let’s be practical here. Yes Richards needs minutes and needs to gain experience. Yes his potential talent is ridiculous. BUT, Reid Travis plays like a grown man and does all sorts of things that Richards can’t or won’t do. The majority of the minutes belong to Travis. They are his to give up until Richards is much more consistent

    • JerryCat
      5:18 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      I sort of agree, but I think Cal sees Nick’s potential and is doing him a favor by demanding more than he’s giving. Once he stops making mistakes, he’ll he the minutes and he’ll be averaging 10/10/10 seemingly out of the blue

  2. kyle heavy
    12:23 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

    ClutchCargo— I don’t see anyone else literally get yanked for every single mistake like Nick does. I’ve never seen anyone treated like Nick since Calipari got here. I’ve got a baseless, uneducated theory that he’s not playing him and trying to hang on to him for next season. He just better be careful because if he pushes him too far the kid will transfer.

    • catsarerunnin
      12:44 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      If you haven’t seen it with other players then you haven’t been watching.

    • bigbluebanana
      1:03 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      It happens other years too, it’s just more noticeable this year because we have so many other options, which is a good thing. It’s almost as bad with EJ, the difference being EJ is a freshman, Cal probably doesn’t expect as much out of him. Regardless, having the conversation like this in January is a good problem to have when talking b-ball! May be what I love most about this team, next man up mentality…we seem to be hitting our stride in terms of them knowing what needs to be done to win.

    • runningunnin.454
      2:51 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      Cal doesn’t try to hang on to kids for next year…if anything, he encourages them if he thinks they’re ready for the next step.
      One thing is becoming obvious, though…other teams, including UT and Dook, should fear our depth.

    • bigbluebanana
      3:07 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      .454, I know they say careful what you wish for, but I’d pay good money to play dook again tomorrow! If we keep this up, we COULD do to dook what they did to us if we meet in March. Michigan has looked very pedestrian lately, Gonzaga will eventually Gonzaga themselves, and Virginia, like every other year, is highly overrated. UT and dook are the only two teams playing on our current level. Dook is at a bigger disadvantage than us and UT because they have to battle out the rest of the year in the ACC. UVA probably beats them at home, UNC will get them at least once, hell…Louisville might get them next game…that’s how the acc rolls every year. The sec is solid too, but it’s not as wonky as the acc seems to get. UK could still lose a few more games, I’m not saying we are gonna run the table, but I like our chances more than anyone else in the country now except dook and UT. In 2011/2012, my son caught a stomach bug for two days at Xmas, this year, on the same two days of Xmas, he got the same bug again, the only two times my son has ever been sick. It may be a shitty omen (pun absolutely intended), but maybe an omen nonetheless.

    • runningunnin.454
      3:17 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      Good analysis, BBB. Sorry your son was sick for Christmas; but, hopefully a harbinger for happy days.

    • BluemanGreen
      3:21 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      thats what freaks me out too…dont want him leaving!

    • Luether
      4:06 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      The absolute failure for Nick to even go through the motions of blocking out at this point in his career is inexcusable…

    • RealCatsFan
      4:22 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      BBB has discovered a new strain of the Norovirus – the BBChampionship Virus. 🙂

    • RealCatsFan
      4:23 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      But please tell me that you haven’t bottled some of that stuff to infect him again next year!

    • RealCatsFan
      4:25 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      I would love another shot at dook, but I am not sure if my sanity could handle it in a win or go home situation. Especially with the officials as the x-factor.

    • trumpetguy
      4:57 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      Even the TV announcers talked about the “zero tolerance” policy for mistakes. Apparently they also have noticed NR not getting much wiggle room from Cal.

  3. kjd
    4:18 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

    Please explain. Sacrifice? Coach Cal benched Travis to get Richards more minutes. It wasn’t voluntary. Travis didn’t offer the minutes, Coach took them.

    • trumpetguy
      5:09 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

      Tell you what was nice to see, and yours truly campaigned for it a couple weeks ago. A baseline OOB play for NR, called during a TO. Little jump hook over his left shoulder looks to be Nicks favorite go to move. I said at the time it would help his confidence, and it did! Cal also obviously liked what he saw. Wouldn’t want to run a ton of offense through NR, but low block jump hook is his bread and butter.

  4. J. Did
    4:41 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

    Just wondering if part of the young man’s problem is ‘focus’: or, rather an inability to concentrate for any period of time due to internal mental distractions. For example, he’s worried about other things than the game at hand either on or likely off the court. If he can be given 5 tasks to focus on Offensively and similarly 5 Defensively – and focus, with continued repetition and associated positive reinforcement – he may improve more rapidly and favorably. That along with a pregame meditation regimen may help immensely. Just a suggestion which can only help.

  5. mrpokerchips
    7:43 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

    We are very lucky to have Reid. Very lucky

  6. Wildcat_blues1029
    9:13 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

    Everyone would love to see Nick get more minutes, but let’s be honest for a second anyone who watches can tell he’s still learning the game. The physical tools are amazing but the basketball IQ is still in the works. The longer he plays in a period of time the more exposed he gets. Not as bad as last year but it definitely exposes. Nick comes back next year and continues studying more film he’ll definitely be a lottery pick next year

  7. Wildcat_blues1029
    9:16 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

    Nick Richards is exactly like Willie. Everyone can remember WCS first 2 seasons was tough to see him play because he seemed lost a lot times but would play solid games in small time. That Junior year was huge for Willies development and was so much better then his freshman year. Nick will be the exact same in my opinion

  8. Alleykat16
    10:15 pm January 30, 2019 Permalink

    All Nick needs is to keep studying the game of basketball, watching film and practice. He hasn’t played half as much as his teammates of who he plays against. But he is getting better. What he did last night was against a team who hasn’t won a single conference game and was looking to get done and back to the dorm. But there is not a player I root for more than Nick Richards I love the kid and want him to get it, whatever it is I want him to get it