Richards is fourth Kentucky player to enter NBA draft

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky forward Nick Richards will enter the NBA draft and give up his final season of collegiate eligibility by signing with an agency.

The 6-foot-11 junior is the fourth Wildcats starter to turn pro. He’s coming off a breakout season in which he was named a first team All-Southeastern Conference selection by The Associated Press and league coaches. His per-game scoring average increased 10 points from his sophomore season to 14.0 while starting 30 of 31 contests to help the Wildcats (25-6) earn the SEC regular-season title before the postseason was canceled because of the new coronavirus.

Richards also ranked fourth nationally in shooting at 64% and made the SEC all-defensive squad with averages of 7.8 rebounds and 2.13 blocks per game.

Richards, from Kingston, Jamaica, thanked Kentucky coaches and teammates for his steady improvement in a statement on Tuesday. He said it’s time to pursue his ultimate dream of being an NBA player and added, “I’m prepared for this step because of my time at Kentucky.”

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Richards’ announcement comes a day after leading scorer Immanuel Quickley declared for the draft. Guards Ashton Hagans on Sunday and Tyrese Maxey turned pro last week.

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