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December 12, 2012

Kentucky coach John Calipari on what makes Michael Kidd-Gilchrist special


            They called it the “Breakfast Club.’’ This was freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s creation at Kentucky, the team’s youngest player leading with charisma.

            It wasn’t bagels or cereal or bacon-and-eggs. It was a daily extra workout and all the other Wildcats followed along last season.

            “He’d work out in the mornings before class and brought people with him,’’ Kentucky coach John Calipari recalled Wednesday, at halftime of the Charlotte Bobcats’ home game with the Los Angeles Clippers. “When I recruited him I told him, 'You’re going to elevate every practice. You’re going to drag people with you.’ ’’

            That’s just what he did, playing a big role in Kentucky’s 2012 national championship. After that season Kidd-Gilchrist and teammate Anthony Davis turned pro. Davis went No. 1 to the New Orleans Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist went second to the Bobcats.

            Now he’s a rookie starter, the youngest player in the NBA. Calipari says Kidd-Gilchrist is doing the very same things for the Bobcats he specialized at for Kentucky.

    “What he did (playing with great energy and intensity) is a skill, and he drags it out of everybody else. What (as his teammate) are you going to say? ‘I don’t go that hard.’ ’’ Calipari said. “On top of that he was 18 years old, youngest player in the country, under the spotlight he was under, and he never changed a bit.’’

    The core of Kentucky’s team turned pro after the title game and Calipari is starting over. He constantly reminds this group how hard Kidd-Gilchrist plays, to the point those kids probably tire of hearing it.

    “Michael’s mother keeps texting me back and forth. She says, ‘Do you wish you still had him?’ Selfishly, yes, but he helped us win a national title so now it’s his time,’’ Calipari said. “We’re not as good without him, we’re struggling a little bit, but that’s what we do.’’

    Calipari is convinced Kidd-Gilchrist will end up a tremendous pro for the Bobcats.

            “Every year he’ll get better and better and better because he works,’’ Calipari concluded. “The motor that he has and the toughness and the will to win – that’s what you can’t invent or fake.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on December 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM | Permalink


I think when the game is on the line the Cats lose because the wrong players are in the game. I like MKG but why are we running isolation plays for him with the game on the line, he taking stepback jumpshots. Sessions play has really dipped. If they go with a small lineup I would like to see Kemba, Gordon, taylor, henderson, Mullens or bis on the court for his defense. I just think that's there best offensive lineup and it space the floor. No disrespect to Mkg but his is just not ready to be the go to guy because everyone knows he not a shooter.

Posted by: Respect | Dec 13, 2012 12:22:31 AM

why not? we want him to get better and be that guy. the experience now in otherwise meaningless games is invaluable for down the road.

you HAVE to have patience with this group. if he gets used to being the guy at 19, what is he going to be at 28? you know how everybody talks about how old the spurs are.....yet tony parker is only like 29 or 30.....it's because he's been the man since he was 19. get em young and grow em up. we are finally doing it right and the "fans" continue to not get it.

we're in the middle of a fantastic season that will result in 20 wins this year and 60 wins 3 years from now.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 13, 2012 12:37:12 AM

Calipari is a great coach, a class act.

Posted by: big gulps | Dec 13, 2012 9:36:21 AM

The old Bobcats front office would have taken Thomas Robinson with that #2 pick. Robinson is doing absolutely nothing right now. MKG fits the mold of this team. He does commit silly fouls, but his ability to run the floor and finish around the rim on fast breaks is pretty amazing. He has the craftiness around the rim that you normally only see from veterans. I like this Kid(d)!

Posted by: Smitty | Dec 13, 2012 12:56:37 PM

@Respect "I would like to see Kemba, Gordon, taylor, henderson, Mullens or bis"

That line up would leave us about 6'5" on average based off list height. They might be quicker, but they better make every shot because they will never see a rebound. The problem isn't just offensive spacing, it's defense. You can space all you want and if you get enough shooters open and hit 40 percent of your 3 pointers as a team, you still lose when the other team hits 61 percent of their open jumpers and layups. Thats not even factoring offensive rebounding. I mean have you seen Ben Gordon defend this season? Me neither. You go with the players who gives you the best chance to win long term. MKG might not hit those shots, but him getting run in crunch time means more long term to the organization than hoping that Gordon gets on one of his shooting streaks.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 13, 2012 2:30:34 PM

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