boys basketball

Kentucky signee Nick Richards calls becoming McDonald's All American a dream come true

Nick Richards (Photo: McDAAG)

Nick Richards (Photo: McDAAG)

The Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.) center Nick Richards doesn’t have the typical story that accompanies being a five-star recruit.

He wasn’t projected as a “can’t miss” prospect or showered with college offers from the time he was a seventh grader.

The reality is that Richards only began to create a buzz with college coaches last year as a junior.

That’s why he was extra grateful on Wednesday when the McDonald’s All American Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance stopped by his school and presented Richards his game jersey for the McDonald’s All American Game, which tips March 29 at the United Center in Chicago.

“This is so big for me because it feels like all of my dreams are coming true,” said Richards, a Kentucky signee who is ranked No. 11 overall in the ESPN 100. “I put in so much work to get this jersey and now to have it doesn’t even feel real. It makes me want to work that much harder this season.”

So far so good.

Richards is pumping in 12 points and 10 rebounds a game for The Patrick School, which posts a record of 11-3.

“We’re playing well right now,” Richards said. “There are things that we need to improve on, but we’re all going hard.”

Nick Richards presented his mom, Marion Tenn, with the Dream Champion Award. (Photo: McDAAG)

Nick Richards presented his mom, Marion Tenn, with the Dream Champion Award. (Photo: McDAAG)

He knows he’ll have to bring the same intensity next year with John Calipari in Lexington. Just don’t expect him to be intimidated by the expectations.

“I’m not worried about any of that,” Richards said. “I know what I’m there for and it’s to work hard and to learn and do what the coaches want me to do. I put in hard work and got this McDonald jersey so that’s what I’ll do to be successful at Kentucky.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY