LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ) – Former Cat Nick Richards was once seen as another one-and-done talent, but he took some time to develop. A few years later, he finally heard his name called on draft night.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 19, 2020
Richards was drafted with the 42nd overall pick in the second round by the New Orleans Pelicans. He would then be traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
After struggling, but showing flashes during his freshman and sophomore years, Richards enjoyed a breakout junior campaign in which he set all sorts of personal bests and became one of the most best big men in the country. He was selected to the All-Southeastern Conference First Team by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.
The Jamaica native was also tabbed an All-SEC Defensive Team member by the coaches. He was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 20 Team and the United States Basketball Writers Association All-District IV Team. Also he was named the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week and SEC Co-Player of the Week following the Louisville.
His accolades didn’t stop there, he was named the NCAA March Madness National Player of the Week and the SEC Co-Player of the Week following the win at Texas Tech. He logged career bests in a number of major categories, including points per game (14.0), rebounds per game (7.8), blocks per game (2.1) and field-goal percentage (.644).
During his junior year, he led the team in rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage … His field-goal percentage topped the SEC and ranked fourth nationally.
At season’s end, he averaged 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in SEC play.