- Nick Richards
- Hometown (Last School)
- Kingston, Jamaica (The Patrick School)
- 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20
- November 29, 1997
Nick Richards was born Nicholas Richards on November 29, 1997, in Kingston, Jamaica to Marion Tenn. He has one sibling, Sharique
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Richards attended Jamaica College (JC) and competed in soccer, volleyball, and track and field before being discovered by Andre Ricketts, a New York City-based basketball scout, in the summer of 2013 during a basketball camp in Jamaica. Ricketts brought him to the US, where Richards attended St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, New York. He transferred to The Patrick School in Hillside, New Jersey in 2014. Richards was ranked in the top 20 by the major recruiting services, including 247Sports (No. 15), ESPN (No. 17), Rivals (No. 17), and Scout (No. 17). 247Sports tabbed him as the second-best center in the class. He joined fellow UK players Karl-Anthony Towns and Isaiah Briscoe as other high school stars to lead their teams to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions when he led The Patrick School to a 64-45 win as a senior. Richards scored 24 points and had 12 rebounds in the win. He is the second UK player from the Patrick School to play for the Cats, joining Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the other. Richards was the 2017 winner of the Mr. New Jersey Basketball honor. He participated in the McDonald’s All-American Game, the Jordan Brand Classic, Nike Hoop Summit, and the Elite 24.
On November 10, 2016, Richards committed to Kentucky choosing the Wildcats over Arizona, Connecticut, and St. John’s. At his announcement ceremony, Richards showed off a pair of blue and white shoes emblazoned with the UK logo and said that he was “proud to be following in the footsteps” of Kidd-Gilchrist, who said positive things about the Wildcats during Richards’ recruitment. He joined Jarred Vanderbilt, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Quade Green, and PJ Washington to form the No. 1 ranked recruiting class for 2017.
As a freshman at Kentucky, Richards started all 37 games for the Wildcats. He averaged 5.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Richards scored in double figures in seven games, including a career-high 25-point effort against Fort Wayne. He led the team in rebounding in eight games and in blocks on 12 occasions and finished the season ranking second on the team in total blocks (33) and fourth in rebounds (163). He made his debut with 10 points, three boards, and three blocks in a win over Utah Valley. Richards snared nine boards against No. 4/3 Kansas in the Champions Classic. He had his first career double-double with career highs in points (25) and rebounds (15) in a win over Fort Wayne. His 15 rebounds tied for the most by a Wildcat in 2017-18. Richards had 10 points, four rebounds and a block in a win over Alabama that jump-started a four-game winning streak for Kentucky late in the season.
As a sophomore, Richards appeared in all 37 games in 2018-19 with 147 points, 123 rebounds, and a career-high 47 blocks. His 47 blocks led the team and he led UK in blocks in a team-high 16 games. Richards posted two double-figure scoring games and two double-figure rebounding games. He had a monster game against Southern Illinois with eight points, a career-high 19 rebounds, and three blocks in a career-high 27 minutes. The 19 rebounds were the most by a UK player since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hauled in 19 against Louisville on December 31, 2011. The 19 rebounds also matched SIU’s team total. He swatted a career-high five shots in nine minutes in the win against No. 9/10 Kansas. Richards recorded a season-high 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting in addition to four blocked shots in the win at Vanderbilt. He put together one of the best games of his career with seven points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots in the win against Arkansas. Richards declared for the NBA Draft but elected to return to school for his junior season.
As a junior, Richards enjoyed a breakout campaign in which he set all sorts of personal bests and became one of the 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 and was also tabbed an All-SEC Defensive Team member by the coaches. Richards was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 20 Team and the United States Basketball Writers Association All-District IV Team. Richards was named the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week and SEC Co-Player of the Week following the Louisville win. 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. Richards 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). He led the team in rebounds, blocks, and field-goal percentage. His field-goal percentage topped the SEC and ranked fourth nationally. Richards averaged 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in SEC play and UK was 22-2 when he scored in double figures and 10-0 when he grabbed double-digit boards. He had a career-high 10 double-doubles after recording one during his previous two seasons and recorded a team-high 67 dunks. Richards scored in double figures in 24 games and led the team in scoring on eight occasions. He registered double-digit boards 10 times and was the team leader in that category in 15 games. His 66 blocked shots ranked 15th in program history in a single season and he had 11 games with three or more rejections. Richards led the team 19 times in blocks. He returned from a sprained ankle he suffered during the exhibition slate to contribute seven points and four rebounds in 25 minutes in the win over No. 1/1 Michigan State in Madison Square Garden. Richards boasted 21 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in the home opener against Eastern Kentucky. He totaled 10 points, 13 rebounds, and a career-high seven blocks against Lamar, the most blocks by a UK player since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2014-15. Richards scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds against Utah Valley. Richards had 12 points and 10 boards against Fairleigh Dickinson. He tallied 13 points and 10 boards against No. 3/4 Louisville and scored seven straight points in overtime and took two key charges late – all with four fouls – over the final eight minutes and into overtime in the win. Richards logged 21 points and 12 rebounds to go with four swats against Missouri and he tallied 13 points, 11 rebounds, and five rejections against Alabama. He had 17 points and nine rebounds at Arkansas. Richards charted 20 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the free-throw line in the home win over Georgia. He was dominant in the win at No. 18/18 Texas Teach with 25 points to go along with 14 rebounds and four blocks. He is only the second player in the Calipari era (Anthony Davis) to log this stat line at Texas Tech. Richards registered a double-double, his 10th of the season, with a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds against Mississippi State, including a career-best 13-of-15 performance at the free-throw line. He scored 25 of his 27 points after intermission in the game against MSU, the most in a half by a player in the John Calipari era. He was a game-changer with six blocks to go along with 13 points and six rebounds at LSU. Richards had 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting in helping UK clinch the SEC regular-season crown in the win over No. 15/15 Auburn. He played a central role in the 18-point comeback at Florida with 17 second-half points and finished the game in Gainesville, Florida, with 19 points and seven rebounds. He averaged 14 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. Following the season, he declared for 2020 NBA Draft.
In the 2020 NBA draft, Richards was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans (42nd overall) and immediately traded to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for a second-round pick in 2024.
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