There are many ways to tell the story of Sean Kilpatrick. He is an old story told in an era that makes it new and unique. Every Bearcats knows the basics. He was all set to be a freshman contributor mentaly and physically, SK was ready to go. Then Lance Stephenson happened, and Mick Cronin deemed that SK would be surplus to requirements for that season, so he convinced SK to take a red shirt season. That decision, and the ability to get SK to accept it, might just be the best thing that Mick has done while at UC.
That's the basics, that's what we know. What SK was doing behind the scenes was something of a mystery. Every so often he would pop up on YouTube shooting around after hours, or rapping in his appartment, and always with Born Ready. One year later he burst onto the scene as a red shirt freshman with what looked like a fully formed game as a perimiter specialist.
SK honed that aspect of his game for three years. I don't know what the UC record is for career three point attempts is, but SK has to be close to it. For three years Kila was a remorseless bomber. As a sophomore 57 percent of his shot attempts were from deep. As a junior that number was down to 55 percent. This year its 54 percent, which at first reading seemed much to high, but the numbers don't lie.
SK's game as a senior is completely different from his game as a freshman, but its not really new. Its actually quite old.
That my friends is Sean Kilpatrick as a high school Senior. That find from the bowels of YouTube shows Kila with a game that bears scarcse resemblence to any of his first three seasons at UC, but looks awefully familiar to anyone who has seen SK take over game after game with his penetration of the bounce and his ability to get to the free throw line.
What's old is new again, and it is fantastic to watch.
Because of Sean Kilpatrick the Bearcats are having the season that everyone expected them to have last year. Expectations for 2012-13 were far higher then they were for this season, and for good reason. The three amigo's from the sweet sixteen run were back with more experience, and that experience would be the difference. Except it wasn't. Cash's knees were shot by that point and the offense devolved into bombing away from three, regardless of the situation. If they are falling that's great, but if not its trouble, and it was.
In some respects this team is the same, but there is a general plan. Keep things close, have Sean Kilpatrick finish the game. The Bearcats late game offense is not a thing of beauty to be sure. There is nothing asthetically pleasing about watching SK put his head down to drive until he gets fouled, where he goes to the line and always seems to make them when they matter.
Sean Kilpatrick is going to be remembered for a lot of things in Cincinnati. The shot at UConn, the game winning drive against Marquette, and on and on. But its not just about the indiviugal moments with SK. Cincinnati has been playing high level basketball for a very long time. There have been plenty of guys who have had moments in the long history of UC basketball. Not many guys can lay claim to an era the way that Kilpatrick can, and I have little doubt that this stretch will go down as the Kilpatrick era, as well it should.
As long as Cincinnati has played basketball there haven't been many guys who have had an epochal effect on the program. Oscar Robertson, Ed Jucker, Bob Huggins, Kenyon Martin, and now Sean Kilpatrick. Mick Cronin will be here for a while, and he will get a chance to set his name among that group in time. But SK is in that group now, or at the very least has made a very compelling case with his play, and the fact that he will always get credit for bringing Bearcats basketball back to the forefront of the sport. That is the legacy that Kila leaves behind, and its a hell of a legacy.