Jan 26, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats guard Sean Kilpatrick (23) brings the ball up court during the first half against the Temple Owls at the Liacouras Center. Cincinnati defeated Temple 80-76. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Draft Profile: Cincinnati Bearcats Guard Sean Kilpatrick


Cincinnati Bearcats guard Sean Kilpatrick is a 2014 NBA Draft prospect. Here is a profile of the former UC player and professional basketball hopeful as the big night approaches on June 26th.

SEASON REVIEW

Sean Kilpatrick led the Cincinnati Bearcats to an AAC championship and their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance practically by himself. It’s really hard to put into words just how critical he was to UC’s success last season. Kilpatrick accounted for over 30% of Cincinnati’s points, nearly 35% of their made free throws, and over 47% of their three pointers. With Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker gone to graduation, he was many times the Bearcats’ lone reliable outside shooter. Troy Caupain showed flashes but he hit the freshman wall midway through the season and Ge’Lawn Guyn was a liability on offense sometimes. Plus when Justin Jackson was riding the bench in foul trouble, defenses crept up on the three point line, making it even more difficult for Kilpatrick to score.

So it’s even more impressive in my eyes that the former Bearcat was able to average almost 21 points per game in the regular season and even elevate that to 22 ppg in AAC play.

Kilpatrick’s spectacular season earned him second team All-American honors, the first Bearcat since Steve Logan back in 2002 to be named to any team. He was also first team All-AAC and won the conference’s “Sportsmanship Award“. Jury’s still out on whatever that is but the point is that it’s scary to think what Cincinnati’s season would have looked like had the Bearcats not had Sean Kilpatrick.

STRENGTHS

  • Prolific scorer
  • Fearless in the lane
  • Maturity

The former Cincinnati guard just knows how to put the ball in the basket. Kilpatrick can score in a number ways, be it taking a step beyond the arc and draining a three or driving the lane to pick up a quick layup (more on that in a bit). That dynamism truly makes him a nightmare to defend and he garnered double teams many times in college as a result. Opponents are simply kept guessing as to just where he’ll go with the basketball

As mentioned, Kilpatrick is extremely prolific driving the lane. Plus, he seems equally comfortable taking the layup, going to the free throw line by way of a foul, or both. Kilpatrick shot 85% from the stripe last season and many times if he didn’t get his points from the field, he did so via the freebies. That’s an extremely important aspect to his game that can certainly help teams near the end of tight games if they’re looking close out a win.

Finally, Kilpatrick is among the oldest (if not the oldest) applicant for the 2014 NBA Draft. That’s a little unorthodox in this day and age when the top draft picks, many by way of Kentucky, are less than a year into adulthood. Sometimes they’re not necessarily prepared for the demands of the professional game despite dominating high school and college. However, Kilpatrick understands the kind of preparation and development it takes to succeed at a higher level of basketball. He spent the past half decade at Cincinnati methodically improving his game. Scouts might reference the recent NBA Champs the San Antonio Spurs as an example of what mature, team-oriented players can provide a franchise. Kilpatrick certainly fits that mold.

WEAKNESSES

  • Volume shooter
  • Ball handling
  • Defense

Sean Kilpatrick is a volume shooter by nature. If he’s not nailing freebies at the stripe, he’s hitting his average by pouring shots at the basket and particularly from three point land. Kilpatrick launched 267 shots from beyond the arc, the 8th most of any player in the country, but made just 34.8% of them (203rd nationally). It goes in the weakness column here because Kilpatrick, if he were to make a NBA squad, wouldn’t be given the amount of possessions off the bat like he did at Cincinnati. He’d need to make them count and history tells us that he hasn’t done so at a strong enough rate.

Additionally, Kilpatrick struggles with ball handling. He mentioned in a recent interview that he might project to a point guard at the professional level. His ability to drive the lane and make his own shot probably led to this. But Kilpatrick seems to be an off the ball shooter because of his less than stellar handle. It’s improved over the years, just like his defense, but is certainly one of the weaker aspects of his game.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Sean Kilpatrick has done as much for Cincinnati Bearcats basketball as any other player in the school’s long, illustrious history. He finished as UC’s second all-time leading scorer behind the Big O. He was the primary factor in Cincinnati bringing home their first conference championship in a decade. He leaves behind a legacy at Cincinnati where we can finally mark the end of the rebuilding period following Bob Huggins’ firing so many years ago.

But I don’t think Kilpatrick goes in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night. He has the resume of the best applicants in the draft but there are some holes in his game. Several professional teams such as the Chicago Bulls (fingers crossed), Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards have invited him in for workouts. So the interest is there. But I just have a feeling Kilpatrick slides to the second round Thursday night. While he won’t receive a guaranteed contract, the former Cincinnati guard has more than enough tools in his repertoire to work his way onto a team.

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