Kidd-Gilchrist goes No. 2 in NBA draft

Posted: June 29, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. - It was a scene that was several years in the making: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, fashionably dressed in a navy blue suit, blue and white plaid shirt, and blue tie, went around the table embracing family members and friends. In his eyes you could see the jubilation after he obtained what many expected for the last five years.

The 6-foot-7 forward, who left Kentucky after his freshman year, became an NBA lottery pick.

Kidd-Gilchrist will play for the Charlotte Bobcats after being chosen with the second overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft at the Prudential Center.

For the Somerdale, N.J., native, it was a night full of accomplishments.

He and Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis, who went first to the New Orleans Hornets, became the first teammates to be selected one and two in draft history. Kidd-Gilchrist also became the area's highest draft pick since the Baltimore Bullets took Bartram's Earl Monroe at No. 2 in 1967. And it is the first time two locals were among the first four picks.

Dion Waiters, a South Philadelphia native and Kidd-Gilchrist's former Team Final AAU teammate, went fourth to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

They also became the area's sixth and seventh first-round picks in four years.

"When I was hugging my mom none of this hit me yet," Kidd-Gilchrist said of being a part of draft history.

But by the end of the night, he had 160 of his friends and relatives to explain what he had just accomplished. His family sponsored two chartered buses from South Jersey to the draft and to a post-selection party at the 40/40 club in New York.

Showing support, his group stood up and shouted "M-K-G! M-K-G!" after he was selected.

"I mean, I'm home," Kidd-Gilchrist said of the support. "I'm good. I'm a family guy. That means a lot to me."

But his becoming a first-round draft pick didn't come as a surprise.

From the time he was an incoming freshman at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, Kidd-Gilchrist was mentioned as a future NBA lottery pick. And outside of Davis, the 18-year-old was arguably the safest pick in the draft.

He's a hard-nosed defender, capable of guarding the one through four positions. The emotional sparkplug is a good finisher and effective in the open court. But being a great teammate is arguably his best attribute.

And that's a good thing for a Bobcats squad that finished last season with the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history.

"I have a winning attitude on life and in ball, school," said Kidd-Gilchrist, who's determined to help turns things around in Charlotte. "Now, I just want to win basketball games. That's all I want to do."

But more talk of turning around a struggling franchise would have to wait.

Kidd-Gilchrist was scheduled to party with his South Jersey contingent in the city that never sleeps.

"Oooh, it's going to be good," he said with a laugh. "I mean, I'm home. So it's going to be fun."


Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @pompeysgridlock Read his blog at www.philly.com/OwlsInq.

 

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