“I would say, looking at today, he’s a starter because you have to have him start the game,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said Wednesday, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Can’t start the game like we did today.”
Kentucky trailed Division 3 Transylvania 11-4 before Kidd-Gilchrist went into the game at about the four minute mark and the Wildcats went on to win 97-53. He finished with 19 points (including a dunk that made SportsCenter), seven rebounds, five assists and a block.
“He was the difference in what happened,” Calipari said. “He did what I knew he would do.”
The day he was to sign with Kentucky last November, his uncle, Darrin Kidd, died of a heart attack, motivating Michael to legally change his last name.
“That’s my everything,” he told the Herald-Leader. “That’s my soul and heart, right there.”
Kidd-Gilchrist went on to help St. Pat’s become the No. 1 team in the nation for most of last season before the Celtics lost to Kyle Anderson and St. Anthony in the mythical national championship game in the New Jersey state tournament at Rutgers.
Although Kidd-Gilchrist struggled in that game, he plays with an incredibly high motor and fierce competitiveness that Calipari obviously feels the team needs.
“He’s going to be everything,” fellow freshman Marquis Teague said. “High-level energy. We feed off him.”
(Photo courtesy HErald-Leader)