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.
Gordon Hopes Kidd-Gilchrist and Kentucky Win It All
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Derrick Gordon and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are former teammates at St. Patrick High School and brothers for life.
Like all competitors, they put their relationship on hold for a couple of hours Thursday night when they faced off in the NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center.
But now that the game is over and No. 1 overall seed Kentucky is moving on, Gordon would like to see his friend and former teammate cut down the nets next month in New Orleans.
“One of us had to lose,” Gordon said after scoring 12 points in top-seeded Kentucky’s 81-66 rout of No. 16 Western Kentucky in a South Regional first-round game.
“We played on the No. 1 team in the country last year and lost to St. Anthony [in the mythical national high school championship game], and we both was hurt. I do wish him the best of luck and hope he does win it all.”
Kidd-Gilchrist, the Somerdale, N.J., native who had 9 points and 7 rebounds in the game, appreciated the sentiment.
“He is one of my best friends, too, period,” he said in the Kentucky locker room. “It felt great” that he said that.
Gordon and Kidd-Gilchrist will always share the pain and hurt associated with losing their undefeated season and the No. 1 ranking a year ago to Kyle Anderson and St. Anthony.
But now Kidd-Gilchrist and Kentucky can win the national title that eluded both St. Patrick and Kentucky a year ago.
“I mean, that was last year’s game,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I’m in college now. But there’s a lot of motivation coming from that. I think it’s a lot of motivation coming from that.”
Kidd-Gilchrist said he was saddened to hear that St. Patrick will close following this school year for financial reasons.
The school has produced pros Kyrie Irving, Sam Dalembert and Al Harrington, in addition to Gordon, Kidd-Gilchrist and North Carolina’s Dexter Strickland.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “It’s just a whole lot of history behind it, but I love St. Patrick. I always will. That was the funnest time of my life I think right there. And just winning with those guys in general.
“Even that last game, too [against St. Anthony].”
Unlike Kidd-Gilchrist, teammate Terrence Jones was on the Kentucky team that lost last year to UConn in the national semifinals.
And he started off his 2012 NCAA Tournament with an impressive 22-point, 10-rebound performance.
“That’s why I came back,” Jones said. “I’m just trying to make sure we don’t have the same outcome we had last year.”
Though the game was played in Louisville, it was essentially a home game for Kentucky, which will meet the Iowa State-UConn winner Saturday.
“I love our fans,” Kidd-Gilchrist said.
Kidd-Gilchrist is projected as the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft by DraftExpress.com, but says he hasn’t decided what he will do.
“I’m just focused on March, too, right now,” he said. “I’m not really worrying about that right now. I haven’t made up my mind.”
First things first.
He’s got a championship to win. And his old friend and teammate hopes he gets there.
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.