Kentucky basketball: Quade Green, Nick Richards bring veteran leadership

MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 27: Nick Richards
MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 27: Nick Richards /

Thankfully for John Calipari and Kentucky basketball fans, there won’t be a complete rebuild in Lexington next season. With Quade Green and Nick Richards returning, the Wildcats will have some experience on the team.

Kentucky basketball fans have become accustom of late to a complete rebuild year in and year out. This coming basketball season, Big Blue Nation will happy to have at least Quade Green and Nick Richards returning to Lexington. Players with experience in John Calipari’s system proved invaluable for past Kentucky teams.

As reported by the Lexington Herald Leader, Quade Green will return for his sophomore season at UK. Next season, the Wildcats’ backcourt will be crowded. Newcomers Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro are likely to garner some playing time.

If Ashton Hagans, a 2019 commit, decides to reclassify to next year’s class, then he’s sure to lock up a starting spot in UK’s backcourt. Though playing time is assumed to be a big reason Green was weighing his options, regardless of Hagans decision, Green will likely start the season at one of the guard spots.

Nick Richards made his intentions to stay at UK known a few weeks ago. Anyone who’s read my articles regarding Nick Richards know my feelings about the big man from Jamaica. He just wasn’t ready to play college basketball for an elite-level program like Kentucky.

An offseason and consistent work with Kenny Payne and the UK coaching staff will do Richards a world of good. I expect big things from Richards next season, and I believe Coach Cal will give Richards every opportunity to succeed.

The benefit of experience

There seems to be a stigma that sticks to Kentucky basketball players. Some players take more time to develop. Former Wildcat Darius Miller needed four years and a stint overseas to make it in the NBA.

The 2012 National Championship team had sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, as well as senior Darius Miller. The 2015 team that went 38-1 had junior Willie Cauley-Stein and sophomores Aaron and Andrew Harrison. Even last year’s Elite Eight squad had seniors Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins.

Having Green and Richards as leaders on next year’s Kentucky basketball team will be a huge boost for the incoming crop of freshmen. Hopefully some of the players who’ve declared for the NBA Draft decide to come back and add to the leadership as well.