Jamaican standout Nick Richards has declared for the upcoming NBA Draft, making the announcement official via his social media account.
The former five-star recruit, after experiencing growing pains in his first two years at the University of Kentucky, had an outstanding junior season for the Wildcats leading them in rebounds (7.8) and blocks (2.1) while also scoring the second most points on the team at 14 per game.
His .644 field-goal % ranked tops in the South-Eastern Conference and it was good enough for fourth best in the country.
Richards also led UK with a career-high 10 double-doubles, including two against AP top-25 opponents at home against Louisville and at Texas Tech.
Thank you to everyone that was apart of the journey 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/gBXdCdMJOq
— Nick Richards (@iamnickrichards) April 14, 2020
He was one of four players in the country to average at least 13.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting at least 60.0% from the floor. He was in the 98th percentile of offensive efficiency in the Synergy national rankings and in the 88th percentile on defense.
Those developments led to the 22 year old earning two SEC player of the week nods and being named to the All SEC First and All-Defensive teams.
Among his list of accomplishments this season includes winning the NCAA March Madness national player of the week award in January and the US Basketball Writers Association Oscar Robertson national player of the week in December.
UK head coach John Calipari had high praises for Richards.
“Of all the kids that we’ve coached who have elevated and benefited from the culture we’ve built here, I would say Nick is at the top of the list,” Calipari said in a press release. “Nick’s ability to self-evaluate and block out the clutter for the last three seasons has shown incredible maturity. To be able to look inward and say, ‘I need more time and I wouldn’t trade this time at Kentucky for anything in the world,’ says a lot about Nick.
“What Nick has been able to do with his body, his mind and mastering his skills, it’s been incredible and rewarding to watch as a coach. It’s been a pleasure to see him grow into the player and the young man he has become, and he’s done it all because of his hard work and his dedication. It has all paid off.
“Nick will leave here as a fan favorite and deservedly so because of the way he’s handled himself both on and off the court. He’s become the best version of himself and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
As well as being named on the All-District 20 First Team, Richards was also recently projected by NBA Draft Net to be selected in the second round of the upcoming draft, on June 25, by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Richards, if drafted by Philadelphia, would play under head coach Brett Brown and alongside the likes of All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.