– Richards is not only enjoying the most productive season of his career, he’s producing one of college basketball’s best stories of the season. After averaging 4.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over 13.4 minutes a game in the first two seasons of his career, he leads the team in rebounding (7.8 per game), blocks (2.1 per game) and double-doubles (10) to go along with a conference-high .644 field-goal percentage and 14.0 points per game. His field-goal percentage mark is also good for fourth in the nation, through games on March 7. The centerpiece of a frontline 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 four players in the country and one of only two Power 5 big men averaging at least 13.5 points per game, at least 7.5 rebounds and at least 2.0 blocks while shooting at least 60.0% from the floor. He’s in the 98th percentile of offensive efficiency in the Synergy national rankings and in the 88th percentile on defense. Twice Richards has won SEC Player of the Week and he won two national player of the week awards during the regular season. Richards played well early in the season, but his meteoric rise began vs. Louisville and continued into the conference season. Despite impressive early numbers, Richards had yet to fully break through vs. consistent, upper-level competition. Against Louisville’s front line, one of the best in the country, Richards delivered. The 6-foot-11 big man secured a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, the majority of his production coming in the latter stages of the game with four fouls. Other noteworthy performances include a 27-point, 11-rebound game vs. Mississippi State, featuring 25 points in the second half. At Texas Tech, he recorded 25 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, becoming just the second Wildcat in the Calipari era with such a stat line. National Player of the Year Anthony Davis did it in 2012. Richards also leads the Wildcats with 66 blocks, including 18 games with multiple rejections. As Richards goes, so does UK. Kentucky is 22-2 this season when he scores in double figures, 10-0 when he grabs double-digit rebounds and 7-1 when he blocks at least four shots. Courtesy UK Athletics