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Kentucky Wildcats 5 for Monday: Will Michael Kidd-Gilchrist be the "new" DeAndre Liggins?


The more I hear about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the more I am sure that Kentucky Wildcat fans are going to love this kid.  We all know that Michael has changed his last name to Kidd-Gilchrist, to honor his late uncle, who passed on the day Michael decided to become a Wildcat.  And apparently, Michael is getting more from his late uncle than the surname.  His uncle, Darrin Kidd also taught him how to play defense, and Kidd-Gilchrist plans to apply those defensive skills to the Kentucky Wildcats this season:

“I love playing defense. I’m taking on DeAndre Liggins’ role as the defensive guy on this team.”

Aside from not being afraid to take on the defensive stopper role, Kidd-Gilchrist sets himself apart from the other top rated players nowadays with a refreshing amount of humility:

“I’m not the only one on the team.  I hate the limelight. I want my teammates to have it. It’s a team effort to me. I was born with that mentality and play like a point guard sometimes. That’s my father in me.”

Massachusetts big man Nerlens Noel is the number three ranked player in the 2013 class and obviously one of the players John Calipari is coveting for his team.  Most don’t know that Noel was originally part of the 2012 class and he went into the 2013 class.  Now there is speculation that he may reclassify into the 2012 class again.   Noel had a triple double over the weekend in the Peach Jam classic with 12 points, 11 blocks, and ten rebounds. 

For those that have been following former Wildcat coach Billy Gillispie, you may be aware that he was caught up in a Ponzi scheme and lost a ton of money.  Yesterday, the man in charge of the scheme, David Salinas, committed suicide.  At this point, it is important to note that Salinas was also the head of a Houston area AAU program and a number of high profile college basketball coaches were among his clients.

And herein lies the rub.  You just wonder how the NCAA is going to look at college basketball coaches “investing money” with someone with a strong AAU background and who has ties to a lot of recruits:

Former Arizona coach Lute Olson, Baylor coach Scott Drew, Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie and former Utah coach and current Gonzaga assistant Ray Giacoletti are among those CBSSports.com has confirmed invested with Salinas. A document obtained late Sunday by CBSSports.com has testimonals from other coaches who invested with Salinas — specifically Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Willis Wilson, former Houston and Nevada coach Pat Foster, former Duquesne coach and current United States Merchant Marine Academy coach Danny Nee and Augustana College coach Grey Giovanine.

“But the list is much longer,” a source said. “Lots of coaches had money with him, but they’re going to try to deny it and just hope it doesn’t come out.”

The reason some might be concerned about their financial connection to Salinas is because it’s unclear how the NCAA would view college coaches investing money with the founder of a summer basketball program that supplied recruits to several universities over the years. Among the prominent prospects who played in Salinas’ program are Juwann McClellan (Arizona), Demetri Goodson (Gonzaga), Joseph Jones (Texas A&M), Dexter Pittman (Texas) and Cartier Martin (Kansas State), the last of whom spent last season with the NBA’s Washington Wizards.

We all know that lots is expected of Kentucky QB Morgan Newton this season.  But is he the most irreplaceable player in the SEC?  Some would say so as the depth chart is thin behind Newton:

Take away Newton, who has the task of extending Kentucky’s program record of five consecutive bowl appearances, and the Wildcats are left with two guys who were in high school last year. The only other scholarship quarterback who went through spring practice in Lexington was midyear enrollee Maxwell Smith.

As important as Morgan Newton is to the offense, Danny Trevathan is equally important to the defense.  We know that Danny is one of the top 25 players in the SC, but he is also rated as the second best defensive player in the SEC:

Danny Trevathan might be the best player you’ve never heard of, but when you play at a basket- ball school that’s your fate. Trevathan led the SEC in tackles in 2010 with 144, more than 11 per game. He doesn’t have classic linebacker size (6-1, 230 pounds), but makes up for it in speed and instincts.

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