Meet the Cats: The freshmen

November 7, 2011 

Marquis Teague

Age: 18

Height, weight: 6-2, 189

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Indianapolis

High school: Pike

About Teague: Another of Kentucky's top-10 recruits in the class of 2011, he chose the Cats over Louisville after an intense recruiting battle. Teague chose UK for the opportunity to be coached by John Calipari, who has a history of helping his point guards quickly attain their NBA dreams. Teague, who averaged 22.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists as a high school senior, has drawn comparisons to NBA All-Star Chris Paul for his ability to handle the ball, take contact and explosively burst to the basket. His brother, Jeff, plays for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks.

Teague on Calipari's take on the NBA lockout: "He told us all eyes are on you all. There's no NBA season. We are the top school in the country for basketball. Eyes are going to be on us, North Carolina (and other top programs)."

Coach Cal on a freshman playing point guard and following Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Brandon Knight: "I think he's up for the challenge. I wouldn't have brought him here if I didn't think he was up for it. But it's not going to be smooth sailing."

Kyle Wiltjer

Age: 19

Height, weight: 6-9, 239

Position: Forward

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Portland, Ore.

High school: Jesuit

About Wiltjer: Wiltjer is a versatile power forward with an excellent outside shot who is comfortable playing down low on the post or out on the wing. Wiltjer, who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada, shocked the recruiting world by committing to the Cats despite never setting foot on Kentucky's campus. He averaged 19.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a high school senior. His father, Greg, was a member of Canada's basketball team in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Wiltjer on seeking versatility: "I want to be the most versatile player I can be on the court. The more things you can do, the tougher you are to guard. I just like being a versatile player. So that's why I chose this system."

Coach Cal on Wiltjer improving his foot speed: "The best thing is we brought in a speed coach to work with him, and he's running now. He's finishing one, two or three in all of our conditioning (drills). ... His skill level is really ridiculous."

MichaelKidd-Gilchrist

Age: 18

Height, weight: 6-7, 232

Position: Forward

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Somerdale, N.J.

High school: St. Patrick

About Kidd-Gilchrist: One of Kentucky's four McDonald's All-Americans in the recruiting class of 2011, he is already projected as a lottery pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He is known as a tireless competitor and leader who is an excellent defender, rebounder and aggressive offensive player. Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 20.2 points and 11 rebounds for a St. Patrick High School team that had an undefeated record until losing in a New Jersey state championship game. He was ranked the No. 3 senior recruit by Rivals.com and ESPNU and No. 5 by Scout.com.

Kidd-Gilchrist on not being comfortable in the spotlight: "It's hitting me right now with all of you all (reporters) standing in front of me. Honestly. ... The limelight is bright. ... I'm just a quiet person at all times. But I have to adjust to it."

Coach Cal on Kidd-Gilchrist bringing the kind of energy DeAndre Liggins provided last season: "(Kidd-Gilchrist's) starting point is where DeAndre finished. ... He's like the guys that I've had here. They're chasing greatness. ... I've never seen him go anything but absolutely all out."

Anthony Davis

Age: 19

Height, weight: 6-10, 220

Position: Forward

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Chicago

High school: Perspectives Charter

About Davis: He was a lightly recruited guard until a growth spurt transformed him into one of America's most-coveted players — a frontcourt athlete with backcourt skills and a seemingly perfect fit for Coach John Calipari's dribble-drive offense. Davis averaged 32 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocked shots as a high school senior and was ranked the nation's No. 1 senior recruit by ESPNU and Scout.com and No. 2 by Rivals.com.

Davis on which UK player will defend the opponent's low-post anchor: "Whoever Coach Cal asks. I'm pretty sure it'll be me. ... I'm used to being on the perimeter. You have to go to the post unless you're Kevin Durant."

Coach Cal on Davis: "This kid has a smile on his face. If I told him, 'You're playing center and you're going to have to slug it out,' he would say, 'OK.'"

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service