Documentary featuring Kidd-Gilchrist worth a watch

On the screen, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — then Michael Gilchrist — lay in his bed, his mom by his side.

Kidd-Gilchrist and his family are trying to cope with the recent death of his uncle, Darrin Kidd, on what was supposed to be a celebratory day in which the high school senior officially signed a letter of intent to come to UK. Kidd-Gilchrist’s mother is consoling him, telling him to trust God.

“If there is a God,” Kidd-Gilchrist says, then attending a Catholic school.

“Don’t say that,” his mother says.

“I had two fathers, basically, (who died),” Kidd-Gilchrist says. “I don’t believe in Him.”

It’s a haunting scene, one of many in “Prayer for a Perfect Season,” an HBO documentary debuting Oct. 25 about Kidd-Gilchrist’s high school team as it chases a perfect season and a national title.

The film covers the entire season and develops multiple storylines and characters from St. Patrick’s 2010-11 season. It documents the coach, Kevin Boyle, a coach chasing perfection whose energy on the sidelines rivals UK head coach John Calipari’s, and who drops F-bombs with no hesitation (his cursing was actually one of the funniest moments of the film). It follows Derrick Gordon, now at Western Kentucky, through personal struggles of his own.

But much of the documentary centers on Kidd-Gilchrist’s personal struggles. Early on, Kidd-Gilchrist raps in his driveway about coming to Kentucky. The day he commits, and the day Horn dies, is heavily depicted, from Kidd-Gilchrist shooting jumpers in his driveway while donning a Kentucky sweatshirt to the family’s discussion of whether it should go through with the signing as tears stream down Kidd-Gilchrist’s face.

At another point in the movie, Kidd-Gilchrist stares at a picture of his father.

“If he was here, I’d be chilling right now, I think,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “I wouldn’t have a motor at all.”

After he puts the picture down, Kidd-Gilchrist picks up a pad and scribbles what would eventually become his legal name, Kidd-Gilchrist, before showing it to the camera and announcing he would be adding the tribute to his uncle to his last name.

The documentary is a revealing look at Kidd-Gilchrist — which is great, because we don’t have much of that. In the film, his mom talked about shielding him from the growing media attention as he rose to the forefront of the high school basketball scene. Kidd-Gilchrist said he didn’t want to grow up yet. (He may still feel that way, as Marquis Teague said: “He’s goofy and silly. He acts like a teenager. He’s younger than us, so we’re like ‘why you acting so childish?’ He’s a fun person to be around.”) And he was uncomfortable with interviews throughout high school and even early this year. That’s no indictment of him. He did, however, have to push himself to make adjustments to deal with the media crush at UK.

It worked. At Media Day last week, he came out and immediately started joking with the cluster of reporters gathered around his chair.

“I’m only 18 and in the limelight,” he said. “It’s bright. I gotta adjust.”

Although Kidd-Gilchrist describes himself as a quiet guy and seems serious in interviews, the documentary captured him dancing in the middle of team huddles and clowning with his teammates. That side of him seems to be the real one.

“Mike’s not really serious,” Anthony Davis, his roommate, said at Media Day. “He’s silly. I love that guy.”

“Prayer for a Perfect Season” shows us why.