Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Michael Gilchrist will sign a National Letter of Intent this week to play for Kentucky coach John Calipari beginning in 2011.
But for the next year, Kevin Boyle of St. Patrick remains Gilchrist’s coach.
And Boyle is expecting continued growth from his 6-foot-7 star who averaged 16.4 points and 11.5 rebounds as a junior.
“Probably Mike’s best attribute is that he’s extremely coachable,” Boyle said. “He has a really great work ethic. Has a great motor, plays every possession.
“Things that he needs to continue to improve on. Obviously, he’s got to improve his range on his shot. He’s been working very hard on it and according to all sources, it’s gotten a lot better. The goal is to make him real consistent from 17-, 18-, 19-feet and for the following year for Kentucky to improve to that next spot to where he’s real consistent from three.”
Gilchrist is part of a four-man recruiting class for Calipari that includes guard Marquis Teague and forwards Kyle Wiltjer and Anthony Davis, all of whom attended Kentucky’s Midnight Madness last month.
Teague, Gilchrist and Davis are ranked, 2, 3 and 6, respectively, in the Rivals150 for the Class of 2011.
After Gilchrist winning a gold medal with the U.S. U17 team in Hamburg, Germany and then presenting the medal to his mother, Cindy Richardson, Gilchrist competed in the Peach Jam for his last event of the summer.
He did not participate in the Orlando Super Showcase or the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game, instead spending time with his family in New Jersey.
“I think it was good because one, he’s going into his senior year and you’re in a situation where you played internationally,” Boyle said. “That was a big commitment for your time, your energy and I think you get a little stale, a little worn out. And this is probably his last summer to be with his family a little bit more.
“And then after that if you’re at Kentucky or if you’re good enough right away to go to the NBA, if you’re gone, you’re going. So he was enjoying being a kid a little bit outside of basketball.”
The Celtics were banned from the New Jersey state tournament last season after Boyle was found to have conducted out-of-season workouts.
Now, with Kyrie Irving having moving on to Duke, Gilchrist will be the main man on a team that includes several young stars, including point guard Da’Shawn Suber, Western Kentucky-bound guard Derrick Gordon, wing Jason Boswell and bigs Austin Colbert and 6-9 Dakari Johnson.
“I think we have an outstanding sophomore class,” Boyle said. “You have Jason Boswell, who’s being recruited by several Big East schools. You have Austin Colbert, who’s being recruited by several Big East schools. And we also have four or five young guards, guys that can really get after it and guard.“
With one more year at St. Patrick, expect Gilchrist and company to target another Tournament of Champions title as their primary goal.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.