Want to know the story behind Michael Gilchrist changing his name to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Eric Lindsey wants to tell you. Go on over to CoachCal.com and read his fantastic profile of Michael, whose father died when he was two, and his uncle, who became a guiding presence in his life, died tragically of a heart attack the day Michael signed with Kentucky. His is a truly heartbreaking story, and sheds light on a player who, admittedly, would prefer to stay in the shadows:
For someone who prefers to stay out of the spotlight, it seems odd that Michael chose to play at Kentucky, the center of the college basketball universe. But Michael did it for all the right reasons.
He wants to make a Final Four and compete for the national title for his teammates. He wants to take the game his uncle taught him and take it to the next level in honor of him. He wants to mature and improve off the court into the man his mother has molded him to be.
It’s obvious Michael is playing for a lot more than just the name on the back of his jersey.
Tragic stories and tissues aside, one snippet you guys will really love from a basketball standpoint describes Kidd-Gilchrist’s defensive ambitions:
At the prodding of his uncle, he’s embraced the defensive side of the game, becoming a feisty, lockdown defender. He’s become so good on the defensive side of the ball that Calipari believes he can not only take the place of defensive stopper DeAndre Liggins, but be even better.
“I was 11 years old and my uncle told me I had to play defense or I wouldn’t be good,” Michael said. “I took it to heart. I love playing defense. I’m taking on DeAndre Liggins’ role as the defensive guy on this team.”
I love this kid.