The Matt Pilgrim Story - PART TWO

Larry Vaught recently interviewed Matt Pilgrim for Kentucky Sports Report, the magazine. Follow this young man's story throughout the week in this five part series.

Of course, he felt the same way when he got to Hampton. He averaged 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game his freshman year and seemed destined to be a top player there during his career. But his numbers, and playing time, dropped last year to 7.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game when he started only 11 of 26 contests.

"It kind of made me feel like what I am doing wrong or different, but it never really hurt my confidence when my playing time got cut and my numbers were down. I know what I can do. I am a confident person," Pilgrim said.

"It was just a whole bunch of family issues that bothered me last year and had me ready to transfer. It was cool. I made it through the year. Everything went downhill for a while. My father used to call me and tell me he knew I was working out and everything would be fine. He would say, 'Don't worry about us.' But it was hard being so far from home and trying to worry about them. It's a lot easier being here at Kentucky."

His teammates don't ask him about what happened last year or why he decided to transfer. "We really don't talk about that. We don't talk to K.G. Kevin Galloway) about his old school (USC). What they did back then, just stays there. We are not worried about them back then. We are just worried about right now and he is fine here," said Kentucky sophomore Patrick Patterson.

One thing Pilgrim knows will not be easy is sitting out this year under the NCAA transfer rules. He applied for a hardship exemption to make him eligible this year and even as he awaited a final ruling, he had already accepted that he likely would not play this year.

"It is going to make me mad not playing, but that is just part of it. I knew what I was getting into. I knew by coming here it would help be improve my game and eventually make me a pro, so that's worth sitting out a year," Pilgrim said. "Applying for a hardship was just an idea put in my head and I went for it. I didn't expect it to fly or get to play at all.


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