Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is back in Lexington after spending the holiday break with his hospitalized mother in New Jersey.
Cindy Richardson was released from the hospital with an undisclosed illness, and Kidd-Gilchrist said she’s doing well.
Kidd-Gilchirst said he considered flying home early and skipping Thursday’s game against Loyola (Md.). He learned that Richardson was in the hospital on Wednesday night. After he spoke with UK coach John Calipari, he ultimately decided to fly home immediately after Thursday afternoon’s game.
He finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and was then given a police escort to Blue Grass Airport to catch his flight on time.
“It was weird at first,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I was going real fast.”
Kidd-Gilchrist has become one of Kentucky’s most valuable players early in his first season on campus. He’s second on the team in points (13.1 per game), rebounds (6.9) and field goal percent (52.4), and his reputation as a defensive whiz and high-energy guy has made him one of the country’s most talked-about players.
He also still—and somehow—flies under the radar in scouting reports.
“He’s better than I thought,” Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. “He’s not flashy, he just drives the ball. I was wrong on him. I thought we’d be able to have an advantage on that matchup, but we didn’t. He makes a lot of little plays. Drove in, kicked it, got a rebound. Fifteen (points), seven (rebounds) and four assists. He was better than I thought.”
In that game, Kidd-Gilchrist said his mind was already back in New Jersey. He wasn’t able to use the game as a two-hour means of distraction; he couldn’t get his mind off it.
Still, he decided to fight through it.
“It was hard. I mean, it’s my mother,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “But it’s fine now, so it’s all good.”