Mike Kidd-Gilchrist was the most surprised person in the building. That didn't get in the way of being the happiest, either.
The former St. Patrick High School and University of Kentucky superstar was selected second overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in Thursday’s NBA Draft at Prudential Center.
After hearing rumors about possibly slipping to the fourth pick and being chosen by the Cavaliers -- the team which landed high school teammate Kyrie Irving last year -- Kidd-Gilchrist was taken just one pick ahead of college mate Anthony Davis, who went first overall to the New Orleans Hornets.
"It hasn't sunk in yet. It hasn't hit me yet," Kidd-Gilchrist said, sporting a navy blue Bobcats draft hat with a baby-blue brim. "I'm so happy right now. I'm blessed."
After spending his high school and college careers as a winner, the high-energy small forward goes to a team that just set the NBA record for worst winning percentage. That won't bother him, though.
"I have a winning attitude," he told reporters after shaking commissioner David Stern's hand on the stage. "In life, in ball, in school. So no, that (won't affect me). I just want to win basketball games."
The 18-year-old Somerdale, N.J. native finished his high school career at St. Patrick as a three-time All-American and was one of four finalists for the Morgan Wooten National Player of the Year award as a senior.
In his final campaign under three-time National Coach of the Year award-winner Kevin Boyle, the 6-foot-7 Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 20.2 points and 11 rebounds for a team that spent most of the 2010-11 season ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today.
However, the Celtics’ dream run ended when Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley and his St. Anthony Friars upset St. Patrick in the North Non-Public B title game and mythical national championship on March 9, 2011 at Rutgers.
Kidd-Gilchrist was listed as the third-best prospect in the United States according to ESPNU and Rivals, and was named the co-MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago upon recording 16 points, five rebounds and five assists.
After graduating from St. Patrick, Kidd-Gilchrist made waves at the NCAA level by teaming up at the University of Kentucky with fellow top-tier recruits Marquis Teague and Davis.
Kidd-Gilchrist served as a key cog for coach John Calipari and eventually helped the Wildcats capture the national championship in March. He was named the South Region’s Most Outstanding Player.
At Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist ranked second on the team in rebounding (7.4), third in blocks (37) and steals (37), and fourth in scoring (11.9). He was selected as Second Team USWBA All-American and Third Team NABC All-American.
Kidd-Gilchrist was a top-15 finalist for the John R. Wooden award and placed in the top-30 for the Naismith Men’s Basketball Player of the Year honor. He also was one of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation’s top freshman.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter