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Thread: Somerdale's Gilchrist signs to play basketball with Kentucky

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    Thumbs up Somerdale's Gilchrist signs to play basketball with Kentucky

    DEPTFORD The spotlight has been shining on Michael Gilchrist for years, and he has risen to the occasion time after time.



    A Somerdale resident and senior at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, Gilchrist has grown with his celebrity status. Widely considered one of the premier basketball players in the country, he has been ticketed for stardom since he was a little kid -- although the 6-foot-7 small forward has never really been little.

    While he has played at the highest of levels and enjoyed the spoils of his hard work and dedication, another chapter in his life story was written Wednesday as his sensational basketball journey took its next big step.

    In front of family, friends, teammates and supporters -- anyone who has touched his family -- celebrating the occasion at Adelphia Restaurant, Gilchrist signed a national letter of intent to attend one of the most storied programs in all of college basketball -- Kentucky. It was the first day of the weeklong early signing period.

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    "I've just come a long way," Gilchrist said. "It's not just about me. It's about all of my family. Man, I can't put it into words what it means. It's just a blessing and I can't wait."

    Said friend and former Camden standout Dajuan Wagner: "This is the fun part. Once he gets to school, he'll be fine. What he does the best is play hard and that's something Coach Cal loves. He's going to be one of his favorites."

    Wagner, who played for Kentucky coach John Calipari when both were at Memphis, is widely considered South Jersey's last premier college recruit.

    "I know he's excited to take the next step," Wagner said.

    Gilchrist chose Kentucky over Villanova and Oregon. Rutgers, Florida State, Connecticut, Indiana and Memphis also were among the schools from coast to coast to make offers. He originally made a verbal commitment live on ESPNU in April -- the same day in which his late father, Michael, would have celebrated his 44th birthday.

    Gilchrist's signing day also was filled with sorrow following the death of Darren Kidd, Michael's uncle and younger brother of his mother, Cindy Richardson. Kidd passed away Wednesday morning.

    It's a bittersweet day," Richardson said.



    "As a mom, my heart feels like it's going to burst. Michael has always been a very good kid, very easy. He doesn't feel pressure. He always has a smile on his face, never a worry in the world. He's very prayerful.

    "I'm just so happy -- happy -- very happy."

    Gilchrist is considered the crown jewel of Kentucky's 2011 recruiting class. Calipari has had the top classes in each of the last two years, with this class including three of the top six prospects (Gilchrist, point guard Marquis Teague of Indianapolis and forward/center Anthony Davis of Chicago) in the country as well a fourth top-25 player (forward Kyle Wiltjer of Portland, Ore.)

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    Gilchrist picks Kentucky
    "I love Coach Cal and just can't wait. The fan base is crazy," said Gilchrist, whose Facebook page has been flooded for months by Kentucky faithful.

    "I could have picked anywhere in the country, but I just felt it in my heart."

    In reaching his latest destination, Gilchrist and his family have made some pretty tremendous sacrifices over the years. When it came time for high school, they chose St. Pat's because they believed it would prepare him best academically and athletically.

    Waking up before the sun and trekking 80 miles -- one way -- by car or train became second nature after a while. It all proved well worth the effort when Gilchrist gave Kentucky his autograph.

    "I just can't put this into words," Gilchrist said.

    Said St. Patrick coach Kevin Boyle: "Besides being a terrific basketball player and one of the greatest in New Jersey basketball history, he's probably a better person. He's just a great kid.

    "He has one of the best motors in high school basketball. While some kids take possessions off, Mike never takes a play off. He's relentless. His shot is dramatically improved and that will only make him a more dangerous player at the next level."

    Gilchrist averaged 16.4 points and 11.5 rebounds for St. Patrick as a junior. He was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year for the second straight season and enters his senior year as the No. 1 small forward in the country and the No. 3 player overall by ESPN, Scout and Rivals.

    From Scout.com: "One of the few guys you can see ticketed for stardom. Works on his game, loves to compete. Has the package as a transition player, defender and person. Slashes coast to coast. Jump shot is area for improvement, but it will come. Winner who values being on the right side of the scoreboard."

    From ESPN: "Gilchrist, who is always under the evaluation microscope, has had the No. 1-rated player target on his back for some time and always seems to rise to the occasion when challenged. The kid is a winner with the disposition to dominate and does the dirty work that leads to championships."

    This past summer, Gilchrist averaged 15 points and 7.3 rebounds for USA Basketball's gold medal-winning U-17 national team.

    "What I like about Michael is that he has the mind-set that he'll do whatever needs to be done to win a game," said Team USA coach Don Showalter.

  2. #2
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    Re: Somerdale's Gilchrist signs to play basketball with Kentucky

    I hate to bump this old thread, but a couple thoughts;

    Gilchrist is more talented than even John Wall. The kid is a phenom, maybe the best HS player I've seen since LeBron.
    Michael, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, do NOT associate with DuJuan Wagner. Terrible attitude, terrible work ethic, and just a horrible influence to have around.

    and is Mike any way related to former Maryland standout John Gilchrist?
    "Alabama's cornerbacks don't impress me one bit. They're overrated. Real men don't play zone defense and we'll show them a thing or two come January 1."

    Miami WR Lamar Thomas, the weeks before the 1993 Sugar Bowl national title game.


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    Re: Somerdale's Gilchrist signs to play basketball with Kentucky

    Never heard of him. What is his 40 time, and what does he bench?
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