football

Gilchrist talks about being No. 1

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HAWTHORNE, Calif. - He's been profiled by major media organizations and even has his own Wikipedia page but Mike Gilchrist, the top-rated player by Rivals.com in the 2011 class, says he doesn't care about the publicity.
The Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick star says he doesn't care about the proverbial target on his back, that every time he steps on the floor someone is probably trying to knock him off that top spot.
That the people keeping the scorebook Monday morning here at the Nike EYBL Session No. 3 at the HAX - a massive airport hangar converted into five basketball courts - are talking about Gilchrist, how he's rated No. 1 in the class, how he's so dominant in a 92-64 win against the Tennessee Travelers.
Gilchrist had 22 points (7 of 10 from the floor) and nine rebounds, the Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick superstar not even having to put forth his best effort with a victory comfortably in hand.
All the headlines don't faze him. He's just worried about basketball - not all the hype that comes with being the guy.
"(The publicity) doesn't really matter," Gilchrist said. "I just play hard, play smart. I just do me most of the time. I don't worry about everybody looking at me. I don't worry about that at all. I don't pay any mind to it most of the time. I don't really care about all that stuff."
The spotlight already shines bright - St. Patrick is one of the nation's best high school programs - and Gilchrist, a 6-foot-6 small forward who mainly played point guard in Monday's EYBL action - has already committed to Kentucky, pretty much the epicenter of college basketball. The high school hype machine coming from New York City is well-known.
"He's a good player because he's an all-around player," Team Final teammate Rakeem Christmas said. "He knows how to pass it off and make people better and he has good court vision so it's good playing with him.
"He doesn't really care (about the spotlight). It doesn't bother him at all. Some kids crave that but he's a laid-back kid and it doesn't bother him at all."
The Wildcats' success under coach John Calipari this past season and that Calipari has coached so many one-and-done players had to play big influences in Gilchrist's decision but he said the biggest reason why he picked Kentucky was to play with Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike point guard Marquis Teague, his best friend.
Rivals.com rates Teague the second-best player in the 2011 class which means Kentucky has locked up commitments from the top two prospects in the class - the cycle of potential one-and-done players continuing under Calipari, who has been linked to certain NBA jobs this off-season but has denied those reports.
"He's my best friend," Gilchrist said of Teague. "He's my best friend. That's how it works most of the time."
And Gilchrist is not settling. He and Teague are working to convince Seattle (Wash.) Garfield stud Anthony Wroten to join them in Kentucky's class. Wroten, rated as the sixth-best point guard and No. 25 prospect by Rivals.com, might not need to be pushed that much.
Wroten said Monday that Gilchrist and Teague are his best friends and that going to Kentucky with them is a serious option. Connecticut, Kansas, Syracuse, Tennessee, Villanova and Washington are also in the hunt but sources say Kentucky has a big lead for Wroten's services.
"Marquis and Gilchrist, I talk to them every day and they're trying to get me to Kentucky," Wroten said.
"It's a big influence, one of the biggest influences. I know Marquis and Gilchrist really well, I talk to them every day and I would love to play with them. We've bonded together."
It almost seems like Gilchrist has made it his personal mission to get Wroten to join him and Teague in Lexington. And when it comes to things on the basketball court, Gilchrist almost always gets his way.
"I am going to get Tony Wroten," he said. "Mark my words."
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