VAUGHT: Gilchrist, defense a priority PT2

Calipari already thinks Kidd-Gilchrist could be a defensive catalyst much like DeAndre Liggins was for last season's Final Four team.

Calipari already thinks Kidd-Gilchrist could be a defensive catalyst much like DeAndre Liggins was for last season's Final Four team. "I would say Michael can guard a point guard, a shooting guard, a 3 or 4 (forward) and if he has to a 5 (center)," Calipari said. "First of all, he's got really long arms, so he may be 6-7, but his arms make him 6-9, 6-10. He's gone from playing post to moving out on the floor each year. He knows how to guard inside. On the outside, he gets down and he can give space, yet put his arms out there. He'll fight a two guard on strings because he's tough. He can guard every position." That's because he embraces defense. "It's not a one-man game. I want to be a team player. I don't like the spotlight. It's about team, not me. That's just how I?play," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I just love taking on the challenge defensively. I have a lot of heart and I?like to win. I just like to play defense. I usually guarded the best player. That challenge helped me. "I?think I can play defense here, too. I did it all my life and liked it, so I can't wait to play defense here. I enjoy it and that has always been me. I just try to put a lot of heart into it." Part of that philosophy came from his uncle, Darrin Kidd. His father died when he was young and it was Kidd who helped teach him how to play basketball. "He was basically my dad," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "He always told me I had to play defense or I wouldn't be a very good player. I took what he said to heart, too." His father died at age 30 from multiple gunshot wounds and his mom's brother, Darrin, became his father figure. He won't be around, either, to watch Kidd-Gilchrist's Kentucky career because he died the same day — Nov. 10 — the player signed his scholarship with Kentucky. Kidd-Gilchrist had learned CPR from his uncle about a month earlier and spent almost 20 minutes trying to resuscitate him when he arrived at his uncle's house after getting a phone call from his mom. Rather than call off his scheduled signing day ceremony, Kidd-Gilchrist went through with it because he knew that's what his uncle, a Calipari fan, would have wanted. He also knew he had to do something to honor his uncle's memory, so he changed his name from Gilchrist to Kidd-Gilchrist. He's also going to wear jersey No. 14 in honor of his father's birthday on April 14. That's also the date Kidd-Gilchrist verbally committed to UK. "I still miss my uncle a lot. He was my best friend, and he always will be," he said. "He provided so much inspiration for me. He taught me how to play this game. He was the reason I am here I think.

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