Michael Kidd-Gilchrist lost a total of 10 games in his past four seasons at Kentucky and St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J. He won a state title as a sophomore in high school, a gold medal at the FIBA Under-17 world championships in Germany after his junior year and helped lead the Wildcats to an NCAA title as a freshman.
“I want to win games,” Kidd-Gilchrist said last week in Chicago. “That’s what I’m about.”
The prospect of joining a losing NBA team made Kidd-Gilchrist visibly ill, and he admitted that he would probably “cry some nights” if his team is consistently adding notches to the loss column. Unless a non-playoff team moves up to get him at No. 2, Kidd-Gilchrist is almost assured some rough times – but he doesn’t necessarily believe that is the case if the Wizards select him third overall.
“I mean, with John [Wall] and Nene? I think it’s a playoff team,” Kidd-Gilchrist said, matter-of-factly, when asked how he would fit in Washington.
Next season? “I mean, I guess. I think it’s a playoff team,” Kidd-Gilchrist said.
The Wizards will bring in Kidd-Gilchrist for a workout on Friday at Verizon Center, as well as Duke guard Austin Rivers, Washington guard Terrence Ross and Tomas Satoransky of the Czech Republic.
Kidd-Gilchrist would certainly give the Wizards another player who shares Wall’s intense desire to win. He also has a relationship with Wall after working out with him a few days last year in Lexington. Kidd-Gilchrist played on the same high school team as Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, who gave him some simple advice about the next level. “It’s a man’s league,” Kidd-Gilchrist said Irving told him. “That’s about it.”
Kidd-Gilchrist is the youngest player in the draft, and reporters in Chicago made note of his age last week when he was asked about the first time he watched Michael Jordan play.
“I was like 9, 10,” he said. “Yeah, when he was a Wizard. That was the first time I ever saw him. The Wizards.”
Told that the aging, achy-kneed Wizards version of Jordan probably wasn’t the best first impression, Kidd-Gilchrist crumpled his brow and asked: “That wasn’t good Mike? I thought it was good Mike.”
Jordan could actually keep the Wizards from potentially drafting a “good Mike” if he takes Kidd-Gilchrist at No. 2 for the Charlotte Bobcats. Kidd-Gilchrist has a reputation as a hard worker and gym rat and he confirmed that during the NBA combine in Chicago. He missed the bus for workouts with small forwards and when league executives started looking for him, they found him in a nearby gym working out.
“I think it’s my motor and my heart,” he said, when asked what separates him from other draft prospects. “I think it’s my heart in general. I don’t never stop, on defense or offense…With any team, I’d be a perfect fit.”
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