Kidd-Gilchrist, Gordon Meet In NCAA Tournament Game
St. Patrick’s doors will be closed after this school year, but its legacy will live on forever…at least for the next decade or so. Why? Former St. Patrick basketball players Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist look to be NBA stars for a very long time. Irving is a star already and Kidd-Gilchrist is projected to be a the 2nd pick in the upcoming NBA draft. However, all of that was placed on hold last night as Derrick Gordon and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, teammates last season at St. Patrick High School, played against each other in the NCAA basketball tournament. Top seed Kentucky topped 16 seed Western Kentucky in a game that shined the spotlight on those program, but also St. Patrick.
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.