Gilchrist's injury is creating opportunity for other players to leave their mark. "We've got so many guys with Dexter Strickland and Mike," sophomore shooting guard Derrick Gordon said. "I know my chance is going to come so I just have to be patient."
Gordon, a native of Plainfield, N.J., played a lot of JV ball as a freshman last season before getting the late call up. This year's been different. Pressed into early action when Kyrie Irving was not yet eligible, Gordon will now be asked to play even more during the stretch run. Last season prepared Gordon for his role.
"Actually, I had a struggle my freshman year. When I first went there I had the mindset that I'd be on varsity and play a lot of minutes. I sat down with Coach Boyle and he told me they wanted to play JV and get ready."
Gordon's preparation for an expanded role began last summer. "I played big minutes and everybody was there. In November, early December, when we were getting ready for the City of Palms … well, I didn't know I was going to start. I had to step it up against Word of God and Winter Park."
Last week he had 16 points to help St. Pat's race past Linden. On a team that sports talent at all positions, Gordon's a good player in his own right. There will come a time when his number gets called and the bigger programs make their runs at him.
"A lot of coaches got involved with me after the City of Palms," Gordon said. "A lot of them were looking at me in the summer of my freshman year."
Florida State, Rutgers, Ohio State, Virginia, Indiana, Marquette, Auburn and Western Kentucky keep regular tabs on him. The Hilltoppers stepped up to the plate first and offered him a scholarship. Gordon has reciprocated the affection. "WKU is my favorite school so far. I will be going down there June 5th for their elite camp."
Only a sophomore and blessed with a scorer's touch, Gordon's role, according to Boyle, is to come in and give his club a presence on the defensive end. If he does it well, the Celtics just might be able to absorb the loss of Gilchrist, one of the country's elite young talents.
"They need me to bring more to the team. (Gilchrist) was a real big help for us. With him down, a lot of teams think they have a shot at winning the states. They need me to stay focused."