New Jersey star takes a break from basketball

Michael Gilchrist
Michael Gilchrist
Posted: July 23, 2010

One of the last things Michael Gilchrist wants to do right now is pick up a basketball.

"I just want to have fun with my friends now," said Gilchrist, regarded as the nation's top high school player, according to Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com.

"I don't really have anything planned," he added. "Just hang out."

And who could blame him for wanting to relax?

This past month has been the equivalent of a global basketball whirlwind for the Somerdale, Camden County resident, who plays at St. Patrick's High School in Elizabeth, N.J.

The 6-foot-7 senior swingman was named to the USA under-17 World Championship basketball team last month.

However, Gilchrist missed the first week of training camp due to chicken pox. After getting healthy, the Kentucky recruit flew to Germany to lead the United States to the 2010 FIBA under-17 World Championship gold medal.

Following America's 111-80 victory over Poland on July 11, Gilchrist rushed back to compete in the Nike Peach Jam AAU tournament in North Augusta, S.C.

His flight arrived in Columbia, S.C., at 10:40 p.m. on July 12. Gilchrist then caught a ride to North Augusta and didn't go to sleep until 5 a.m. In a game that started four hours later, he scored 26 points to lead Delaware County's Team Final to a 60-54 victory over Mean Streets (Ill.).

Now that his team has been eliminated in the tourney semifinals, Gilchrist plans to take a six-week break from basketball.

He'll have plenty to brag about while hanging with his friends.

Despite averaging just 19 minutes as a reserve, Gilchrist was second on the world championship team in both scoring (14.8 points per game) and rebounding (7.2). His best outing was a 30-point, 15-rebound performance in a 103-83 semifinal victory over Canada.

"That was a great experience," Gilchrist said. "It was different for me. Coming from America, I didn't know what to expect when I went over there. But I had a good time."

The goal is to have an even better time relaxing.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029

or kpompey@phillynews.com.

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