The first edition of Bearcats Breakdown focuses on a first year player, Sean Kilpatrick. Kila, as he’s called, was a redshirt freshman this season. Sitting a year probably wasn’t what Kilpatrick had in mind when he came to UC, but it paid off very well. Kilpatrick got a lot of minutes that he probably wouldn’t have gotten behind Lance Stephenson and Deonta Vaughn, as well as Larry Davis, Dion Dixon, Rashad Bishop, and so on. His comfort level with his teammates was also very noticeable, as he stepped right into the fold as a key Bearcat contributor. I’m not sure that would have happened if he played right out of high school.
Sean Kilpatrick was the first man off the bench for the Bearcats, but he played about 21 minutes a game. Sean played 51% of the minutes, which was 5th on the team. Sean averaged 9.7 points a game. He shot 43.7% overall from the field. Sean hit 46 of 122 three pointers for 37.7%, which was tops on the team. That helped Kila’s effective field goal percentage, which adds in the extra point for 3s, to be 52.4, which was 21st in the Big East. Sean got to the free throw line at a 34.4% rate, which was good because he was a 72% foul shooter, 65-90. Sean’s true shooting %, which accounts for free throws, was 55.8, which was 24th in the conference. Kilpatrick led the Bearcats in possessions, using 24% of them. That means 24% of the Bearcats possessions ended in a Kila shot or turnover while he was on the floor. That was a good thing, because Kilapatrick had a 112.4 offensive rating, which was second on the team.
Kilpatick wasn’t very effective in some other areas. He averaged 3.1 rebounds a game. 1.2 of those were offensive, which was 6.8% of the UC total while he was on the floor, and 1.97 defensive boards, which was 11.8%. Kilpatrick was 4th on the team in rebounding, and had only 10 less boards than Rashad Bishop. He was third on the team in offensive rebounds, but 5th in defensive boards. It would be nice to see that number rise. Kila was 4th on the team with 52 assists, 1.4 a game, which puts him at a 16.2 assist rate. Kilpatrick had 43 turnovers, 1.2 a game, which was the 4th most on the team. His turnover percentage was 15.5. That left his assist to turnover rate at a pedestrian 1.2. Kilpatrick had 27 steals, 0.7 a game, and only 2 blocks. Kilpatrick had a positive effect overall for the Bearcats. His plus/minus was 248, which was 131 in the country, and 15th in the Big East. His 7.3 average was 197 overall, and 19th in the conference. His Roland was 159, which was 26th in the BE, with a 4.7 average, which was 31st.
Sean Kilpatrick didn’t wait long to make an impact at UC, he did it his first game. Sean missed his first shot as a Bearcat, but got a defensive rebound and drilled a 3 for his first make. Kilpatrick carried UC to a big lead against Mt St Mary’s, and when the Bearcats fell asleep at the wheel, Kilpatrick hit a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left to put it out of reach. Sean had 21 points on 6-11 shooting, including 3-6 from deep, and hit 6-7 free throws. He had 2 steals for fast break points as well. He followed that with a 13 point outing in another close game, this time against IPFW, where his 3 with 5 minutes left put IPFW in too big a hole to crawl back from. Kilpatrick had a couple down games before carrying UC to another win. Kila had a career best performance on December 1 against Wright State. He went off for 26 points on 8-11 shooting, including hitting all 5 threes and 5-6 at the free throw line, with 3 assists and 2 steals in a 77-69 win. 2 of those assists made it a double digit game, and his next 2 threes made it a 20 point game. Kila had a crucial steal and layup with 2:35 left to push the lead back to 10.
Kilpatrick went on a little cold run after his big Wright State game, scoring 31 points the next 5 games, punctuated by a scoreless game against Miami. Sean bounced back against St Francis. In his only start of the season, Kilpatrick went off for 21 points on 8-12 shooting, 3-5 from deep, and 2-4 at the stripe. He had 3 boards and 2 assists as well in the 94-58 victory. After only scoring 2 against DePaul, Kila busted out for 14 points in the last game of 2010 in a win against Seton Hall. Kilpatick tied his career high at the time in boards, which he set against Oklahoma, with 6. It was after a scoreless Crosstown Shootout that Kilpatrick had his most sustained scoring binge of the season. Sean had 11 on 5-12 shooting in the Bearcats first loss of the year to Villanova, 18 on 6-10 shooting, including 4-5 from deep which led to the photo above, against USF, 11 on 4-9 shooting against Syracuase, and 16 on 6-12 against Notre Dame. Kilpatrick set his career high with 3 steals against Villanova. He was a big part of the comeback against Notre Dame, scoring at will off pick and rolls in the second half.
It was after his most consistent stretch that Sean had his longest period of not finding his shot. He was 0-6, 1 point in the close win over St John’s, 2-8, 7 points against Rutgers, 3-9, 7 points in the WV loss, and 2-6, 6 points in the Pitt loss. It was after that, that Kilpatrick got hot. Against DePaul, Kila went for 19 points on 6-11 shooting, including 6-9 at the line. He got others involved, with a season best 5 assists. Sean hit 4-10 threes and scored 15 against St John’s, but his 5 turnovers were a season worst, and UC lost. Sean was money against Louisville though, scoring 18 on 5-8 shooting, and hit 6-7 from the line. Kila played just 13 minutes of the overtime game against Providence, scoring 8 points. He followed that with an 0-4 in the game everyone shot horribly in at Georgetown, and a 4-12 game in the loss to UConn. He picked up his career high with 7 rebounds against the Huskies however. Sean got Georgetown back, going 4-5 for 13 points in the blowout. He followed that with 12 against South Florida in the Big East tournament, before socring 7 on 3-10 shooting in the ND disaster. In the NCAA tournament, Kilpatrick had 10-3 boards-1 assist against Missouri, and 2-5 boards-4 assists-2 steals in the loss to UConn.
Make no bones about it, Sean Kilpatrick had a successful first season as a Cincinnati Bearcat. There are a few things that he needs to work on to take his game to the next level. With the expected increase in minutes next season, he’s going to have to be better defensively. Kilpatrick was good in the press situations, but had trouble in the half court. He doesn’t have to be a stopper like Rashad Bishop, but he’s got to not be a liability. His minutes were jerked around when his defense suffered. Some things are to be expected though. Like his shooting percentages should see an increase. He shot 37.7% from 3, and while that is good, you would like to see it at 39-40%. Free throws are another area. He was 72%, you would like to see that rise to 77%. Just boosting those percentages up a couple of points adds a couple of actual points to the resume. That’s how Kila can go from under 10 points, to 14, 15 points. I would like to see him get to the line more. The only regulars to get to the line less were Rashad Bishop, and Larry Davis. Sean can attack the basket, but he can also sit back and settle. He’s got the frame to be aggressive. I really expect he and Yancy Gates to work off each other next season. UC hasn’t had an inside-outside attack in a long time, and Kilpatrick and Gates could be a very good one. One would think if his minutes increased, so would the rebounding and assists. The turnovers are a problem with his game that he has to quell.
I don’t know if there is another Bearcat I’m as excited about next season as Sean Kilpatrick. I really think that he’s going to take the step to being a star for this team. Just guessing a starting lineup makes one think he’s got to be in it. Even if he’s not, and Mick brings his scoring off the bench, he’s going to play starter minutes. Sean Kilpatrick is going to do special things next season. If last season was any indication, the Bearcats have a great second player to accent Yancy Gates, and someone that could take over if he needed to. I’m expecting big things from 23 next year, and I think, no, I know he’ll deliver.