"I am glad to hear that. Everybody likes good things being said about them, but you have to keep them coming. You have to keep people loving you," Pilgrim said.
He felt that love at Big Blue Madness, which was his official introduction to Kentucky basketball. "The fireworks and all that stuff was cool. My family was in the stands. All my little nieces and nephews got to see me on the court. It was crazy. I loved it," he said. "I'm just sorry I didn't do more in the dunk contest. My legs were gone. Even my teammates were disappointed in me.
"It felt the same as playing pickup games except 23,000 fans were looking at you. It was fun. It really wasn't that different from just playing with the guys except you had all these incredible fans cheering everything you did."
Pilgrim is certain those cheers are going to continue in future years as well because of the talent of the new players that arrived at Kentucky with him this year.
"These guys are for real. I couldn't believe it when I found out DeAndre Liggins is only a freshman. This dude is real. He is athletic. They say he's not athletic, but I think he is. He is a leader. He has it all to me. He can hit a jump shot," Pilgrim said. "The same for K.G. (Kevin Galloway). He is real strong and tough.
"It's such a mature class. DeAndre and Darius, you would never think they are freshmen. As a freshmen, I was nothing like that. I was silly and all stupid stuff. But they are all business and they are both great players. It's going to be fun to be with all these guys the next few years." Gillispie thinks it is going to be fun having Pilgrim, too, because he's not like the ordinary college player.
"I think he is a good teammate, but more importantly I think he is a powerful, explosive player. I would be very surprised if he does not have a long basketball career when he is done at the collegiate level," the Kentucky coach said. "He is a guy you don't see a lot of anymore. He is explosive, powerful and he can shoot it on the perimeter. Right now he is learning how we like to do things, but he acclimated quickly and I think he will be a force to reckon with when he gets to play. Kentucky fans are really going to grow to like this guy a lot."