Sean Kilpatrick Shutting Up Doubters

The 2013-2014 NCAA basketball season was the inaugural year for the AAC and the conference surpassed all expectations. The Bearcats became the dark horse of the conference and quickly became one of the most respected teams in the country. Lead by Sean Kilpatrick, the Bearcats got ranked as high as 7th in the country, won the regular season conference championship, and lead UC to another NCAA Tournament appearance. He carried the team most of the season offensively and looked sensational doing it. Even though he lead the conference in scoring and was largely consistent, Shabazz Napier ended up winning the AAC Player of the Year Award over Sean Kilpatrick.

When UCONN won the National Championship that year, draft analysts could not stop gawking at Shabazz Napier’s NBA potential. You’d think that Kilpatrick would be right behind him in draft discussions right? Wrong. The second highest draft prospect from the AAC that year was Russ Smith from Louisville. So wait, after his stellar career at UC and high NBA promise, virtually no one was talking about SK? Unfortunately, yes. Come draft night, Shabazz Napier was taken with the 24th overall pick, DeAndre Daniels from UCONN was taken with the 37th overall pick, and Russ Smith was taken with the 47th overall pick while our boy Sean Kilpatrick went undrafted. Seriously? DeAndre Daniels who no one was even talking about got picked over Sean Kilpatrick. Injury concerns and SK’s older age were reasons he went undrafted, but the doubt ended up being fuel to his fire.

Fast forward to today and let’s see where our 4 draft candidates are career wise. We’ll start with DeAndre Daniels since honestly I don’t know who this kid is. DeAndre Daniels has not played in an actual game in the NBA since being drafted by the Toronto Raptors. He has had some success in the NBL averaging 14.8 ppg and 7.7 rpg, but has done absolutely nothing in the NBA. Now let’s talk Russ Smith. Russ Smith until recently has bounced around D-League teams and has had some spurts of talent including a 65 point performance against the Canton Charge in 2016, but on an actual NBA court he has done absolutely nothing. I’ll cut Russ some slack since he has only played 27 games in his career, but still his stats should be better than what they are. Now for Shabazz Napier. Napier actually only spent a brief time in the D-League and has actually bounced between 3 different NBA teams. Constant exposure in the NBA should mean he’s a surefire NBA talent right? not necessarily. Shabazz was drafted by the Miami Heat and has since played for Orlando and Portland. In 110 games played in the NBA, Shabazz is averaging 4.2 ppg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 rpg, and plays an average of 14.8 minutes a game. Three years in the NBA and that’s it? Shabazz has actually been on a decline since his rookie season, now that can be contributed to teams seeing him as more of a depth player, but if that’s the case then that should tell you just how much value he has in the NBA. Now on to our boy Sean Kilpatrick. Sean Kilpatrick has bounced around D-League teams and 10 Day Contracts for most of his professional career. He had a sensational 2015-2016 D-League season that landed him a roster spot with his current team, the Brooklyn Nets. For his professional career, SK is averaging 11.0 ppg, 2 reb., and 1 ast. This season though is turning out to be his best yet as he is averaging 17.0 ppg, 4.2 reb., and 2 ast. There are even talks that he should start! While the other draftees from the conference have been either on a decline or non relevant, SK has been on an absolute incline and the possibilities are limitless for him. All those who doubted him and passed on the chance to pick him up are eating there words as the kid from Yonkers, New York and the University of Cincinnati becomes a key player in the NBA.

(Side note: Sean Kilpatrick’s jersey number for the Brooklyn Nets is number 6, the same number warn by Bearcats great Kenyon Martin when he played for the Nets.)

Written By Nicholas Barnoski

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