Not content simply with SEC or Dick Vitale awards, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has stepped to the next level of weekly recognition and earned National Player of the Week honors from Andy Katz in his Weekly Watch feature. It’s no surprise, as Kidd-Gilchrist was absolutely unreal on Saturday afternoon in dragging the Cats through a sloppy game and making sure anyone who was paying attention walked away knowing that he is truly something special. Katz, obviously, was paying attention:
I was in the studio Saturday night, and every time we ran through the Kentucky-Louisville highlights, MKG was in the middle of an offensive play. Kidd-Gilchrist was really something special in UK’s rivalry win. He played 39 minutes, scored 24 points and grabbed 19 — yes, 19 — rebounds in the Cats’ 69-62 victory over the Cardinals. Kidd-Gilchrist also scored 18 points in limited time against Lamar earlier in the week.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has plenty of options offensively but doesn’t always know what he’s going to get from each player. He knows what he’s going to get from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The freshman forward, a constant bundle of energy, continues to be one of the toughest matchups at his position with his length and ability to put the basketball on the floor. The races for SEC player of the year and SEC and national freshman of the year are just beginning. MKG is making his case to be included in both of them.
The ascension of Kidd-Gilchrist from the beginning of the season until now has been something to behold. He has climbed from a guy some thought might be a two-year player, to then be the team’s spark plug and a key contributor, and has now become the Cats’ MVP and one of the best in all the land. If he keeps improving at this rate, they might have to come up with a new award just to accurately describe him as a basketball player. For now, though, he’s ESPN’s Player of the Week and he’ll be coming to a Freedom Hall near you very soon.