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  • Calipari counting on Nick Richards for inside presence

    By: LARRY VAUGHT



    Kentucky coach John Calipari is counting on freshman Nick Richards to be an inside presence. Hes an athletic player with length (7-4 wingspan, 9-1 standing reach) who runs the floor well. He could be not only be a rim protector but also a dominant offensive rebounder.

    He is a big time athlete. Hes a fast, quick twitch athlete, Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne said. Hes still relatively new to the game, but he is super talented. It is going to be fun coaching him.

    Payne, and others, admit hes somewhat in the mold of former Wildcat Willie Cauley-Stein with his skill set and size coming into college.

    He does not have the same personality and trick hair-dos that Willie did, but on the court hes a lot like Willie was at this point, Payne said.

    He grew up in Jamaica preferring soccer over basketball. He came to the United States to play at the Patrick School in New Jersey, the same school where former Kentucky star forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist player. As a senior, Richards didnt put up the astronomical numbers 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game but he was still named the NJ.com Player of the Year in New Jersey because of the way he could alter games.

    I think it was my sophomore year that I decided to put basketball first. I stopped playing soccer when I was about 10 or 11. I just watch soccer now. I still really like it, but just to watch, Richards said. I can still remember when I first got over here. People were saying I was tall and should just put the ball in the basket. It was not easy for me. Guys were pushing me around. But I would not give up.

    I had a lot to learn about the game. Ive learned how to get around guys, how to help guard guards. I think I have a better IQ and feel for the game. Im not where I want to be yet. Thats why I am here for coach Cal to make me better.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Calipari counting on Nick Richards for inside presence started by Darrell KSR View original post