Is Kentucky star Michael Kidd Gilchrist the Next Scottie Pippen?


Michael Gilchrist

During the McDonald’s All-American Game, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams called Kentucky recruit and MAA co-MVP Michael Gilchrist the “next Scottie Pippen.”  With his versatility and ability to get after it on the defensive end, that comparison is actually not too far-fetched.

(This is a Paul M. Banks/David Kay collaboration.)

The comparison came up again at the NBA Draft combine.

The biggest media swarms at the combine were (expectedly) around Anthony Davis, and his teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a possible #2 overall pick headed to the Charlotte Bobcats. With both a ton of local and national media in town for this event, both guys had a large media contingent.  “I like Pippen, I like Pippen’s game a lot. The way he got after it on defense, and he’s a winner.” said Kidd-Gilchrist of the player comparisons he’s drawn. Yes, MKG enjoys the comparisons he drawn to the Michael Jordan running mate on the Bulls championships teams from the 1990s.

“I’m only 18, so it’s old school to me,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. Don’t you feel old now after reading this?

There is the saying, “some talk the talk and some walk the walk.”  Kentucky Wildcats one-and-done Michael Gilchrist will not win any media awards for being a great soundbite, but his performance in the McDonald’s All-American might have been the most impressive of all on the court.

Michael Gilchrist KentuckyHe struggled to put into words what his 16-point, 12-rebound performance meant to him as he was named co-MVP along with North Carolina recruit, James McAdoo.  “I don’t know what to say. I’m kind of nervous, but I had a lot of fun on the court with these guys. I don’t do this media stuff like that; I’m here just to be here,” Gilchrist admitted.

Gilchrist was one of four Kentucky recruits to play in the McDonald’s All-American game.  It was because of his future teammates that Gilchrist decided to play his college ball at UK.  “It was Anthony Davis, it was (Marquis) Teague, and the fan base there is crazy; it was that too.”

The 6-7, 210 pound small forward won a national title in Lexington with his reputation for bringing toughness, athleticism, and defensive tenacity to the floor.  He averaged a ridiculous 19.4 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 6.3 apg, 5.2 blocks and 3.5 steals as a senior at St. Patrick’s High School in New Jersey, where he has featured in an HBO documentary on the program.  He lists his defensive effort as his biggest asset on the floor and it is easy to see why Jay Williams compared him to Scottie Pippen who was one of the best defensive small forwards in NBA history.

Gilchrist wants to lock down opponents defensively on the perimeter and is able to do so because of his combination of quickness and strength.  That muscle also allows him to hold his own in the post.  Kentucky was one of the better and maybe more underrated defensive teams in the country during their run to the Final Four this past season, and Gilchrist should only add to that effort next season.

Offensively, Gilchrist is still a work in progress.  His jump shot is rather inconsistent especially from three-point land, but has shown improvement with his mid-range game.   He relies on his athleticism around the basket or getting out in transition to account for most of his baskets.

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too


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