VAUGHT: Brooks - Pilgrim will help Cats

First, it was a player who has played with Matt Pilgrim this summer who told me as soon as he became eligible, he would be an impact player for the Wildcats. Now it is UK director of basketball operations Alvin Brooks who is praising Pilgrim, a 6-8, 225-pound power forward who has transferred from Hampton University and will have two years of eligibility left after he sits out this season.

Pilgrim, 21, averaged 11 points and 5.3 rebounds as a freshman when he started 19 games after mising the first nine games with a broken foot. He had 11 double-digit scoring games, including three 20-point outings.

Pilgrim, a Cincinnati native, had his numbers drop as a sophomore. He averaged only 7.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He started only 11 of 26 games and averaged just 19.8 minutes per game. He shot 46 percent from the field, but only 30 percent (13 for 43) from 3-point range and jut 42.1 percent (32 for 76) at the foul line. He had 55 turnovers, 31 steals, 30 blocks and 20 assists.

"He has good skills and his stats (from last year at Hampton University) are a little bit misleading. We have some insights into what went on there. He's been nothing but a good worker for us," Brooks said.

No one will say why Pilgrim left Hampton. The coach there, Kevin Nickelberry, only announced he was leaving and would add nothing else.

However, whatever problems Pilgrim did or did not have there, they apparently have not followed him to UK. Players who have been around him like him and praise his play on the floor and personality off the court.

"He is one of the best players physically on the team," Brooks said. "He's one of the best athletes I've seen.

"As he becomes eligible next year, he's really going to help us physically and athletically. He's gifted enough to help us. He fits very well with what we need."

AllWildcats Top Stories