Michael Kidd-Gilchrist became the latest top NBA draft prospect to work out for the Washington Wizards on Friday, but unlike Thomas Robinson and Bradley Beal in previous days, the former Kentucky forward had the attention of the coaching staff and front office all to himself.
Kidd-Gilchrist was the only player to audition for Coach Randy Wittman and team president Ernie Grunfeld during the first of two pre-draft workouts at Verizon Center’s auxiliary court, performing a host of shooting drills as the Wizards search for a perimeter upgrade, among other needs, to complement point guard John Wall.
“A lot of shooting,” Kidd-Gilchrist said of the session that lasted approximately an hour and a half. “I did good for the most part, I think. I was real comfortable with myself.”
The 6-foot-7 Kidd-Gilchrist is projected to be among the first three picks in the June 28 draft after declaring early following one season at Kentucky in which he helped the Wildcats win the NCAA title.
Part of that run included Kidd-Gilchrist being named most oustanding player in the South Region, where he led the Wildcats with 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting in a victory over Baylor in the regional final.
One of the most decorated players coming out of high school, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season and shot 49 percent. His 37 blocks were third-most for the Wildcats, and he was one of five finalists for national freshman of the year.
Kidd-Gilchrist has been seeking counsel from Wall, a former star for Kentucky, during this pre-draft process. Like Kidd-Gilchrist, Wall went to the NBA after one season, with Washington winning the NBA draft lottery and selecting him first overall two years ago.
Kidd-Gilchrist also speaks frequently with Kentucky Coach John Calipari, who has sent dozens of players to the NBA and over the last two seasons will have had more than a half dozen reach the pros.
“I don’t really care where I go to be honest,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “That’s a blessing in disguise, I think. Whatever happens happens.”