Jamaican Nick Richards is now in line to win the national player of the year award in the NCAA basketball competition.
This is as a result of him being named on the mid-season watch list for the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy which is awarded annually by the Atlanta Tipoff club to the national player of the year.
Richards who plays for the University of Kentucky is enjoying the most productive season of his college career and has emerged as a leading candidate for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and All-America honours.
The junior forward leads the team in rebounding (8.2 per game), blocks (2.2 per game) and double-doubles (10) to go along with a conference-high field-goal percentage and 14.5 points per game.
He is also one of just two players in the country averaging at least 14 points per game, at least 8 rebounds and at least 2 blocks while shooting at least 65.0% from the floor.
In January he won both the NCAA March Madness National Player of the Week and the SEC Co-Player of the Week awards and was also named US Basketball Writers Association and SEC Player of the Week in December.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 13, 2020
The centerpiece of a front-line that entered the season with questions about its depth and talent after losing PJ Washington and Reid Travis to the pros, Richards has squashed any and all concerns about his ability to produce.
Case in point: Richards is one of just two players in the country and the only Power 5 big man averaging at least 14.0 points per game, at least 8.0 rebounds and at least 2.0 blocks while shooting at least 65.0% from the floor.
Kentucky is 18-1 this season when he scores in double figures, 10-0 when he grabs double-digit rebounds and 6-1 when he blocks at least four shots.
The 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the Naismith Awards Brunch on April 5, during the Final Four in Atlanta.
Ten national semi-finalists will be announced on March 5 and four finalists will be unveiled on March 17.
Richards if successful, would become just the second player in Kentucky’s decorated history after LA Lakers All-Star Anthony Davis who won in 2012, to be named national player of the year.
The 22 year old last night compiled a game-high 6 blocks, 6 rebounds and 13 points to help lead Kentucky to a hard-fought 79-76 win on the road against Louisiana state university.
He returns to action when the 10th ranked Kentucky entertain Florida on Saturday.