#19 RANKED PLAYER IN THE COUNTRY (CLASS OF 2017)
STAR RANKING: 5 STARS
WEIGHT: 235 POUNDS
HIGH SCHOOL: THE PATRICK SCHOOL IN ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY
CHOSE KENTUCKY OVER: ARIZONA, SYRACUSE, KANSAS, VILLANOVA, AMONG OTHERS
PLAYER SUMMARY: In 2012, Kentucky head coach John Calipari went to New Jersey and plucked Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of “The Patrick School”. This past summer, Calipari went back to the national high school power, which also produced NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving, and landed one of the top big-men in the class of 2017.
Nick Richards is the latest 5-star recruit from the Garden State and is one of the more athletic big-men you will see. Being from New Jersey, we have seen Richards play numerous times and are very familiar with his game. We have seen him improve mightily since his sophomore year.
Richards will remind the rabid Wildcat fan-base of Willie Caulie-Stein, in our opinion. His calling card right now is his defensive ability. He has big-time potential on the defensive end of the court. He shows impeccable timing when blocking shots. At 6’11”, he can cover tremendous amount of space on the floor in a short period of time. He is very light on his feet. We have seen him cover guards at the high school level and do it well. The Queens native has quick-twitch muscles in his lower body as he is a great quick leaper. He is a very good rebounder, however, we believe he can improve in this area once he gets into a strength and conditioning program.
The future Wildcat is excellent in transition, which is the style Kentucky loves to play and he will fit right in with their stable of athletes. He runs the floor like a guard as opposing defenders at the high school level simply can’t keep up with him. Despite only weighing roughly 235 pounds on his 6’11” frame, he shows tenacity and toughness, which we like to see out of big-men.
When we saw Richards play a a sophomore, his offensive game consisted of mostly dunks. He has improved since then. We have seen glimpses of a nice little jump-hook. His shooting stroke has improved mightily since we first saw him as a sophomore, however, he still has a ways to go. We would like to see him develop a go to offensive move during his senior year as he will need it as he heads off to big-time division 1 basketball next fall. At the high school level, he can get away with overpowering opponents for dunks and put-backs, however, we believe it is extremely important that he keeps working on his overall offensive skill-set.
As previously stated, adding weight/muscle and working on his offensive game are the 2 most important things we believe Richards needs to do at this point in his development. While we have seen offensive improvement, he is raw. However, his upside is extremely high. Players his age with his size and athletic ability are hard to find, which makes them extremely valuable and highly sought after.
Nick Richards should help Kentucky right away next season on the defensive end of the court, which will get him immediate playing time. How well his offensive skills develop will determine not only his future at Kentucky but perhaps his value to NBA personnel in a few years. He has a very high upside and attributes that you just can’t teach.
BELOW ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF NICK RICHARDS
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