Even in an age of college basketball when many freshmen are called upon to star from the moment they set foot on campus, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are rare.
Davis, with his UK single-season block record of 98, and Kidd-Gilchrist, with his nationally known defensive, energetic reputation, have established themselves as one of the top duos in the nation barely halfway through their first college seasons, but that's not what makes the pair so special.
What makes this competitive twosome unique though is the brotherhood the two roommates have forged off the court.
"I think the bond that Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis started was during the time that they both decided to go to UK," said Cortez Hale, Davis' high school coach at Perspectives Charter in Chicago. "They became great friends when they first met. Once they found out they were both going to UK, it helped them figure out what similarities they possessed off the court. Their bond is huge and it shows during play when they look for each other."
That very bond Hale spoke of has been the centerpiece of the duo's accomplishments from the very first exhibition against Transylvania as Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist have lived up to every ounce of the hype that came with their top-five rankings in the 2011 high school class.
"You have to be accustomed with one another and know each other for better or for worse," Hale said. "No matter if it was with the worst player on the team or the best, we must be willing to always support everyone."
Like opposing sides of a coin, an uncanny balance of humility and greatness lift this dynamic duo upward. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's unselfishness elevates the Wildcats' level of play just as much as Anthony Davis's team-oriented spirit.
"Michael is a very humble young man with a huge heart and an infectious smile," said Vincent Richardson, Kidd-Gilchrist's stepfather. "I always taught him that there is no 'I' in team, which helps him be selfless."
This key characteristic has aided Kidd-Gilchrist in his assimilation into his new team, and is a core ingredient of its achievements this season.
"The most unselfish memorable moment I witnessed in Michael was when he asked (UK head coach John Calipari) to start Darius Miller before himself," Richardson said."I was so proud of him and it showed his maturity."
A man who sacrifices for others is one who possesses true humility, but this quality do not disappear when Kidd-Gilchrist removes his jersey.
"Michael is the same individual you see on and off the court," Richardson said. "He does not like to talk about basketball and would much rather talk about life situations. He is in the gym every day and is always working on his game and pushing himself when no one else is around to see. He is a giving, God-fearing, humble and grateful young man."
Kidd-Gilchrist's work ethic mirrors Davis' zeal to be the best on and off the court every single day.
"Anthony strives to be the best and never settles for less," Hale said. "With that attitude, he tries to go above and beyond everything he does. Even when he had to adjust to his growth spurt, the challenge turned him into a better player."
Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis' camaraderie serves to motivate each other toward excellence while keeping them both humble in the process. Fame has not changed who they are at the core.
Davis enjoys speaking with young children after school about the importance of education and Kidd-Gilchrist likes baking cookies with young patients at the Ronald McDonald House. In short, these young men are exceptional on the court and in real life.
"The relationship that Michael and Anthony have is very close because they connect with each other," Richardson said. "Michael is like a brother that Anthony never had. They do everything together and have so much respect for one another. With similar goals and the willingness to do anything to meet them, Michael and Anthony have a bond that most people don't."