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MKG grows into role for Kentucky after heartache

Published: Monday, Aug. 3 2015 1:27 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this March 23, 2012 file photo, Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist reacts after the second half of an NCAA tournament South Regional semifinal college basketball game against Indiana, in Atlanta. Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the nation's youngest players, but the 18-year-old who has endured more than his share of family heartache has brought the Wildcats to the doorstep of a national title game appearance.   (John Bazemore, File, Associated Press) FILE - In this March 23, 2012 file photo, Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist reacts after the second half of an NCAA tournament South Regional semifinal college basketball game against Indiana, in Atlanta. Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the nation's youngest players, but the 18-year-old who has endured more than his share of family heartache has brought the Wildcats to the doorstep of a national title game appearance. (John Bazemore, File, Associated Press)

NEW ORLEANS — The two most important men in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's life will be on display on Saturday night at the national semifinals in New Orleans. They're the two names sewn into the back of his Kentucky jersey.

The quiet freshman will be playing for his family when Kentucky (36-2) faces Louisville (30-9) on Saturday — the father he never really knew, the uncle who taught him the game and his mother who kept everything together for the grief-stricken boy.

Kidd-Gilchrist said his personal journey has taken him through a lot, but that he's ready on the eve of the Final Four.

He's done a little bit of everything for Kentucky, and some of his biggest contributions rarely show up in the box score despite averaging 12 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

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