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.
Kyrie Irving and Michael Gilchrist have already teamed up to lead Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title.
Could they be pairing up together in college, too?
“We’ve considered it. We’ve talked about it,” Irving said in a recent interview. “We’re trying to do it but right now we’re just open in our recruiting process.”
And at what school might the dynamic duo wind up?
“Me and Mike, we talk about Kentucky mainly,” Irving said. “Coach Cal [John Calipari], he’s a great coach. And the whole coaching staff when I got to know them at Memphis, I have a great relationship with them. It’s just a top program.”
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Irving is the No. 4 point guard in the Class of 2010 according to Rivals.
He transferred to St. Patrick from Montclair (N.J.) Kimberley prior to last year and helped the Celtics win the New Jersey TOC. He and Gilchrist became fast friends.
“We became best friends when I transferred in,” said Irving, who along with Gilchrist, will be at the LeBron James Skills Academy beginning Sunday. “When we played in the first tournament together, I just got to know him and things developed from there.”
Irving’s complete list looks like this: UConn, Georgia Tech, Duke, Indiana, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Florida, Marquette and Kentucky.
He has taken unofficials to UConn, Indiana and Texas A&M and says he plans to take more in August.
Kentucky has connections to both players. Assistant Rod Strickland is Irving’s Godfather and William Wesley, aka “Worldwide Wes,” is a very close family friend of Gilchrist and his parents, and is also close with Calipari.
The 6-6, 190-pound Gilchrist is the consensus top player in the Class of 2011.
His mother, Cindy Richardson, emphasizes that her son is still young and not thinking about the recruiting process.
She said in a text message that it’s “not true” that Irving and Gilchrist are thinking of playing together.
St. Patrick coach Kevin Boyle confirmed that Gilchrist is still open.
“I’ve talked to mom about Mike and the recruiting recently,” Boyle said. “When he was young he said he was going to Memphis and a lot of people automatically have him going to Kentucky now.
“She’s adamant that that’s not true and that he’s open to schools of high quality who have interest in him. It’s a little early I think.
“Now you have a lot of people calling, asking ‘Do I have a shot? Obviously, anybody would take him if they can get him.”
Boyle said Villanova coach Jay Wright, Georgetown coach John Thompson III and West Virginia coach Bob Huggins are among those who have expressed the strongest interest in Gilchrist and Boyle said he also needed to speak more with North Carolina coach Roy Williams.
Kentucky remains a strong player as well.
“Kentucky and Coach Cal, without question, are going to make a strong play for him,” Boyle said.
Could Kentucky land both players?
“I don’t know,” Boyle said. “Kentucky is recruiting both of them so that’s not an impossibility there. I do think Kyrie does want to go somewhere that he’s going to have a chance to get the ball and run the offense his freshman year.
“Will Kentucky have that available? I don’t know. You might have John Wall there a year or two.”
Boyle also added that Seton Hall had a legitimate shot at Irving and possibly both players.
“I think Seton Hall has a legitimate shot with Kyrie and we’ll have to see what happens,” Boyle said. “I think they’re in the mix. They’ve done a really good job recruiting him. Scott [Adubato] has been the primary contact with Kyrie. Scott’s from West Orange so there’s a connection there.”
Would the Pirates have a shot at Gilchrist, too?
“If they get Kyrie, they could,” Boyle said. “The good thing with Seton Hall is they have a chance to have a good year this year. If that happens, that could change Michael’s state of mind. That’s not impossible.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.