Kidd-Gilchrist at peace with speech disorder

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“I think it’s genetic,” she said. “He stuttered when he was young. He’s stuttered all his life, actually.”

There was a time when Kid-Gilchrist was embarrassed by it.

While at St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, N.J., Kidd-Gilchrist was a nationally-ranked player working alongside current NBA star Kyrie Irving. But while his confidence on the court was reaching new heights his stuttering remained an issue behind the scenes.

“It was something that as he got older he tried to hide,” Richardson said.

That’s not unusual, according to Louise Raleigh, a speech pathologist at UNC Greensboro.

“Stuttering is normally the tip of the iceberg when it comes to other issues,” Raleigh said. “There is also a lot of anxiety that comes when trying to hide stuttering. It’s tough for those of us who don’t stutter to truly understand the anxiety involved, particularly when it comes to public speaking.”

That’s one of the reasons Richardson shielded her son tightly from the media, not allowing him to do face-to-face interviews in high school. Richardson said the interviews he did do were from questions submitted by reporters ahead of time.

“I didn’t want him to be blindsided, so everything came through me,” she said.

But when Kidd-Gilchrist signed a letter of intent to attend Kentucky things were about to change. It was time for him to start talking.

John Hayden, the associate director of media relations at Kentucky, said it was initially determined that Kidd-Gilchrist wasn’t quite ready to do interviews and held him our briefly for additional training on how to deal with the media.

In one-on-one mock interviews he was taught basic communication skills: Sit up straight. Use his hands. Look the interviewer in the eye. Sit on the edge of your chair, engaged in the conversation.

“I wouldn’t say he was scared, but he was uncomfortable with it at first,” Hayden said. “Michael didn’t lack self-confidence he just lacked a confidence when it came to interviews.”

Prior to the team’s preseason media day, Kidd-Gilchrist approached Hayden and said he ready to participate in the event.

Any trepidation over that decision quickly ended when at the start of the session Kidd-Gilchrist hopped into an old director’s chair that had been set out for players fell through it when the material underneath completely ripped.

The 6-foot-7 freshman found himself on the floor.

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