Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has defied the stereotype of the self-important star athlete in more ways than one this year. With his recent comments saying "I'm graduating here... I'm staying at Kentucky" (via Brett Dawson of Rivals.com), he's breaking another pattern of highly ranked one-and-done players.
The college basketball world would be shocked to see MKG stay all four years. Money talks. He later tweeted, "I'm going to do what's... best for me."
While Big Blue Nation would argue another three years would be "best" for Kidd-Gilchrist, it is undeniable that he'd be turning down millions each and every year he stayed.
However, he is one player that has shown his love for the game on the court; as much as any other in the John Calipari era at Kentucky.
His passion for the college game is seen through his hustle for loose balls and his running to teammates when they fall on the court.
Kidd-Gilchrist averages 7.8 rebounds per game (sixth in the SEC), an incredible statistic for a small forward playing beside an enormous front line. He is a stalwart on defense, coupling length with athleticism to make it impossible for opposing players to get a clean shot. He could start right away in the NBA.
With that being said, MKG would benefit greatly from coming back at least one more year. His offensive game is far from polished. His 12.2 points per game are off of second-chance opportunities and hustle plays.
His outside shot is what needs work. His 27.5 three-point percentage is worst on the team from players who have taken at least 10 three-pointers.
How many years do you think MKG will stay at Kentucky?
Another fault of Kidd-Gilchrist is he can be too aggressive. He has fouled out three times this year and averages over two per game. He is in the running for most offensive fouls on the team, maybe even the entire conference.
If Kidd-Gilchrist stays and improves, you can lock Kentucky in as a top-five team each year. He impacts the game on both ends of the floor and would be one of the best Wildcats in history.
Does Kidd-Gilchrist care that much about his legacy as a Wildcat? Who knows.
And, in the end, he is the one that will decide. He could have an entirely different stance after the NCAA Tournament.
Don't get your hopes up too much, but this is definitely one player that you could believe.