Sean Kilpatrick poured his heart and soul into the University of Cincinnati Basketball program. He logged the most minutes, played in the most games, and finished second in team history in scoring behind one of the greatest players in history, Oscar Robertson. Some 2014 NBA Draft projections have him going undrafted which would be a huge mistake.
NBA executives have been conditioned to value youth and potential over age and experience. These type of decisions have landed draft busts like Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic and Jonathan Bender.
Kilpatrick, 24, is a little older than your average senior, because coach Mick Cronin used a redshirt year on him because he had fellow guards Deonta Vaughn and Lance Stephenson in front of him.
That isn’t an easy pill to swallow, but Kilpatrick realized Cronin had a plan for him. He wasn’t sitting him because he thought he wasn’t good enough, he just wanted him to sit and learn. It seemed to work because Kilpatrick exploded once those guys left.
This scenario also shows me something that is undervalued in the NBA and basketball as a whole, and that’s coachability. Too many players come into the league expecting everything to fall right in their laps. Kilpatrick has shown maturity and a understanding which are professional qualities.
I recently attended the Pigskin-Roundball Spectacular where Cronin was speaking and he shared some stories about Kilpatrick. He mentioned that replacing Kilpatrick was impossible. He had incredible on the court accomplishments, but his preparation, passion, love for teammates and university are far beyond anything Cronin has ever seen.
It’s hard to wrap your head around how some of these NBA executives keep their jobs. They keep waiting on their young players to blossom, but it never happens. These guys are emphasizing the wrong “P-word.” They want to believe in the fallacy of potential and don’t see the kind of skills and intangibles proven players, like Kilpatrick, embody.
Sean Kilpatrick has nothing left to prove. He is a first-round NBA talent, but he won’t be drafted there. Front office executives would rather wait on their 19 year-old star to develop or the next international star remain overseas for two years before coming over.
Give me Kilpatrick’s 2,145 career points, heart, passion, experience, and maturity over the next big bust.