Posted on: April 14, 2010 2:05 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2010 2:20 pm
Cynthia Gilchrist-Richardson insists this has never been viewed as a tragic day.
A sad day sometimes, sure.
But mostly it's a day to honor her late husband, Michael Gilchrist Sr., who died of multiple gun shot wounds in 1996. Today is his birthday; he would be 44 if he was still alive. So you can expect his son, Michael Gilchrist Jr., to speak extensively about him this afternoon when the Class of 2011 star announces a commitment to Kentucky at a news conference scheduled to be televised nationally.
"Michael has played this game in dedication to his father all these years without knowing he'd be so blessed with the talent," Gilchrist-Richardson told CBSSports.com. "A lot of people don't know he wears No. 31 in high school because his father wore No. 31 in high school."
As I wrote earlier, this is going to be a huge day for Kentucky basketball. Securing commitments from the best point guard in the Class of 2010 (Brandon Knight) and the best prospect in the Class of 2011 (Gilchrist) within hours of each other is a unique achievement, and further proof that John Calipari might be the only person in the world who can lose five underclassmen without blinking. But this is also a huge day for the Gilchrist family, a day that highlights the job done by Cynthia. Fourteen years ago she became a single mother trying to raise a son in Camden, N.J. That's not easy. But with the help of her second husband, Vincent Richardson, she's managed to guide her son through more good doors than bad, keep him off the streets, in school and humble despite Gilchrist being a nationally known prospect since he was 13 years old. That's not easy, either.
"If it wasn't for Vincent Richardson, nobody would probably know Michael Gilchrist's name," Cynthia said. "My husband is the one who taught me what AAU is all about, and that it was something we could use for Michael's college education."
Rest assured, they've used it well. Michael Gilchrist will have a free college education for as long as he wants it. Later Wednesday, he'll announce where he'll get it, then get back to school, back to work, and back on the path he's been traveling for a while, a path that'll eventually lead to college basketball stardom and, almost certainly, much, much more.
"Michael wants to be able to tell a story one day," Cynthia said. "He's just starting to do that."