Originally posted on Bearcats Blog  |  Last updated 5/31/13
The season review series is finally reaching it's conclusion. I was going to write a post about Mick Cronin, but the only thing I had to say about him was that despite the great job he did getting the team to buy in and play for each other, I don't think he did that great a job coaching this particular team. The grinding style of play can work and has worked, but it didn't work with a jump shooting team. If you have to work 40 minutes on defense and have to work to get your shots, that kills your legs no matter who you are. There was a reason UC went cold late in games. That tremendous grind took it's toll on the last man we are going to talk about, Sean Kilpatrick. If you missed any of the previous entries in the season review series, here they are: Jeremiah Davis, Alex Eppensteiner, Kelvin Gaines - Ge'Lawn Guyn - Justin Jackson - Cheikh Mbodj - David Nyarsuk - JaQuon Parker - Titus Rubles - Jermaine Sanders - Shaq Thomas - Cashmere Wright Sean Kilpatrick played in every game this season, starting 33. He came off the bench on senior day to give Alex Eppensteiner his only start. Kilpatrick played a heavy load this year with 34.4 minutes, 36.3 in conference play. SK took command of the ball. He used a career high 25.2% of Cincinnati possessions. That number was just 1% higher than his freshman season when he was the ace off the bench. Kilpatrick had a 29.2% shot percentage. His offensive rating tumbled a bit to a still solid 108.4. It was 105.3 in Big East play. That is the toll I was talking about. Kilpatrick was 194-488, 39.8% from the field. That was 3% off his total last year. He was just 37% from the floor in BE play. Only 10 players attempted more 3 point shots than SK's 267. He made 82 for a disappointing 30.7%. That number was 45-153, 29.4% in conference. He was able to get to the line more this season. SK made 107-145, 73.8%. He hit nearly 78% in conference. Sean fell under 50% for the first time in his effective field %, weighs 3s, shooting 48.1%. His true shooting was 4% off from last year at 51.8%. His effective FG % was 46.1 in the BE. Not great. Kilpatrick scored 577 points, 17 a game. He got his points more balanced on the whole this season, 38.8% 2s, 42.6% 3s, 18.5% FTs, but in the league it was 32.1%, 46.2% and 21.5%. Big East teams took away the two point shot. Sean Kilpatrick was Cincinnati's second leading rebounder with 176, 5.2 a game. He pulled in a career best 12.5% of the defensive rebounds. He had 63 assists to 67 turnovers. His 1.9 assists per game was down from 2.1. His turnovers per game was 2 and he did lead the team in turnovers, but he turned the ball over just 14% of the time. That's pretty solid. It was the first time he had an assist turnover ratio under 1. SK continued getting steals at the same 2.2% rate. He had 42 this season. He blocked 8 shots. With the major minutes, Kilpatrick had a career low 42 fouls. Sean Kilpatrick was honored for his fine season with a second team All-Big East selection. The junior season for Sean Kilpatrick got off to a solid start. After an ok 5-11, 14 point effort, he would score at least 20 in three of the next four games. He had exactly 20 on 9-12, 2-3 from 3, with 7 rebounds against Mississippi Valley St. He had 29-7-5 assists - 2 steals in his best all around game against NCAA tournament team North Carolina A&T. He was 10-15 overall, 8-12 from 3 in just 26 minutes. The 8 threes were a career best in a game. SK put up his second career double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Campbell. He saved his best for Vegas and UC's first step up in competition. Kilpatrick had 32 points on 7-14 shooting, was a career best 16-16 at the foul line, with 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists in the win. Following the Iowa State monster game, SK took bit of a shooting slump. He was 4-11 in each of the next two games, scoring 16, 3-8 from 3, 5-8 at the line, with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 5 turnovers, against Oregon. He scored 13, 1-3 from 3, 4-5 FTs, with 5 boards against Alabama. SK got it going some with 18 points on 7-16, with 6 boards against UALR. He turned the ball over 5 times in that game. He must have got the message to protect the ball because he had more than 2 turnovers in a game just 5 times the rest of the season. Kilpatrick started going a little good game followed by bad game after this. He had another 10-15 shooting performance for 23 points, followed with 5-15 for 13 points, and 6 boards, against Marshall. SK had a tremendous 25 point, 7 rebound, 4 steal effort against Xavier, putting his mark on the Crosstown Shootout. He needed 27 shots to get there though. He was 10-27, 2-10 from 3, 3-5 FTs. SK had a solid 5-9, 12 point, 6 rebound, 4 assist game against Wright St. He made 5 field goals the following game against New Mexico. But it took him 22 attempts and he was 1-9 on two pointers, only attempted 2 free throws and had a game winning shot blocked. SK made up for that performance with 16 on 3-8, 9-11 at the line, as UC opened conference play with a win at Pittsburgh. He was not good against St John's as he was held to single digits for the first of three times this season. He had 7 on 3-14 with 5 boards. That was followed with more good, a 15 point outing where he shot 6-11, 3-6 from 3, in the loss to ND. UC won their next game against Rutgers, but it game on one of SK's worse games. He was 3-12 for 10 points, 1-7 from 3, 3-6 FTs, with 1 rebound and 1 assist. It was his season low in boards. Killa attempted a season low 7 field goal attempts against DePaul. That didn't matter as he scored 18 points by going 4-7, 3-4 from 3 and 7-10 from the line. He had 6 boards, 3 assists and a block. He also had a couple of turnovers late that helped DePaul make a late run, but the good outweighs the bad. This game would be the last game of the season Kilpatrick shot better than 50% from the field. Cashmere Wright missed the Marquette game, leaving the burden on Sean Kilpatrick. And Sean Kilpatrick had a game for the ages. He scored a career high 36 points in 41 minutes on 11-23 shooting, 5-14 from 3, 9-10 from the foul line. He scored 7 of the 8 Cincinnati points in overtime, which of course included the game winning jumper with 58 seconds left. SK scored 11 of the last 14 UC points. After Marquette tied the game in regulation, Kilpatrick got to the line and made two free throws. It was a tremendous, tremendous effort in a signature win for Kilpatrick and the 2012-13 Cincinnati Bearcats. The aforementioned streak of good and bad games had died with Marquette and a string of solid performances grew. SK had a team high 21 points on 6-15 from 3, 3-3 at the line as he was fouled shooting a 3, and 5 boards against Syracuse. Killa played much better in the Rutgers rematch going for 19 on 5-13, 6-8 FTs, 6 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals. He put another 20 point game down as he scored 21 on 8-19, 5-15 from 3, against Seton Hall to go with 7 rebounds. The final 12 games of the season saw Kilpatrick shoot better than 40% four times. UC only won 4 of their final 12. A huge reason that Kilpatrick struggled was because he was kept behind the 3 point line. Of his final 169 shot attempts, 94 were from distance. That's 55.6%. Kilpatrick was held one dimensional. He only made 22 of the 94 attempts for 23.4%. To go along with that, he attempted 39 free throws, a little more than 3 a game. His scoring over the final 12 games dropped to 14 points per, 3 off his season average and a couple off his Big East average. It's no coincidence that two of his three single digit scoring performances came during this time, including his worst performance of the season. Kilpatrick had a game to forget against Providence. He scored 13 points on 5-14, 1-8, with 2 boards and 2 steals. To go with that, he lost the ball on the final UC possession coming around a screen. SK had another turnover problem against Pittsburgh as he coughed it up 5 times. He scored 16 on 5-15, 2-9 and only got to the line 6 times in this game as opposed to 11 the first meeting. Cincinnati got back on track against Villanova and a large reason why was SK's best game out of the final 12. He had 19 points on 6-12, 4-10 from 3, 3-3 at the line, and 8 rebounds. Killa had 6 points and 4 assists against Georgetown, but was 3-13, 1-7, 5-6 FTs, for 12 points in the close loss. Sean tried his best to help UC win at UConn. He scored 18 on 6-16, 3-4 FTs, with 7 boards. He put in 5 of UC's 11 points in overtime. It was unfortunate for UC that Shabazz Napier scored 11 points in OT by himself. The whole team was in a funk against Notre Dame. Kilpatrick went 3-13 for 6 points. The rematch with Connecticut was huge. Kilpatrick played big. He scored 20 of the 61 Bearcat points on 7-16, 4-13 from 3, with 5 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals playing 39 minutes. SK played 39 minutes against Louisville to worse results, 12 points on 3-15 shooting and 5 boards. He played 42 of 45 minutes against USF scoring 13 on 5-11 with another 5 boards. Tournament play rolled around and Kilpatrick played very well for the most part. He scored 17 on 6-16 in the BET opening win over Providence. His worst game of the season was the following day against Georgetown. SK went 2-12, 0-8, for 4 points in 37 minutes. In the final game of the season, Sean Kilpatrick got off to a rough start. He scored 3 points in the first half and UC trailed by 5. Knowing the team needed him, Kilpatrick scored 16 of the 36  Bearcat points in the second half. He scored 14 of the last 27 points, assisting on 2 of the other baskets. SK did it when it mattered most. 10 of the last 14 points were scored by Killa. That included the shot that tied the game with 3:33 to go, the 3 to cut the lead in half with 51 seconds and a layup with 17 seconds left to get the deficit to 1. Kilpatrick scored Cincinnati's last points of the season with that layup. He was the man who had the ball with the chance to tie. Unfortunately it was one of his 9 misses and not his 8th make. He finished the season with 19 points on 7-16, 2-6 from 3, 3-4 FTs, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. Sean Kilpatrick is the face of the Cincinnati Bearcats. He's the only player that has been honored on an All-Big East team the last two years, he's the one you see on twitter and instagram. He's the star. I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, but there is not a right way to say it. I think the ceiling on a team with Sean Kilpatrick as your main star player is what happened this year. He can absolutely carry you when you need someone to carry the team. He's a great player but the aspects of his game that make him great need another person to help boost him and the team. Yancy Gates was a huge help because he made teams stay honest inside. Hopefully Jermaine Lawrence can be this type of help to Kilpatrick. Sean can get 20 against anyone, I believe. He can fire up the locker room. He can be the rock of the team. He can pull off extraordinary things. But I don't think he can do that back to back to back in the grind of the season by himself. Not when he's busting his ass guarding the other team's best player. With no other threats, a player as good as Kilpatrick can be keyed on and kept outside. Sure he will take them and he can make them, but with the type of defense that was being played on him in the Big East, that was hard. The Bearcats can fly through opponents that don't have the most solid defense because Kilpatrick can score. When the going gets tough, he needs help. This season he didn't have it because Cashmere Wright got hurt and JaQuon Parker, while very good, isn't a great player. JaQuon Parker wasn't a threat to score 20. Cashmere Wright stopped being that threat when he couldn't find his jumper. Even Cash felt the same pressure that Kilpatrick did. This isn't a fault of Sean Kilpatrick, not at all. It's a challenge to Kilpatrick to find a way to not get stuck behind the 3 point line. The offense probably won't change next year. Mick Cronin's teams always play slow. Sean is going to have to find some new tricks to help him out next year. One of those tricks has to involve him passing the ball more effectively. He's not an assist man. He's not really a primary ball handler. But with the freshmen and Guyn at PG next year, he might be thrown into that role more. He might want that role more. He's going to have to get other people involved offensively, especially when other teams key on him like they most assuredly will. His rebounding was fine and it will probably rise a little bit. We know Sean Kilpatrick is going to shoot 3s. We know he can drive. He needs to get to the line more. I've said this the last two seasons but it's true. Getting that free throw rate to around where it is in the non-conference for conference play is not easy, but it's necessary. It's the evolution of Kilpatrick's game. Jermaine Lawrence coming in could cause a weird Deonta Vaughn - Lance Stephenson riff where no one stepped up to fill the void of being the game, but this is Kilpatrick's team. No more 3 amigos. It's the one amigo. It's time for him to stop being on the second team and finish on the first. We see the grinding tweets and the pictures of SK in the gym. I believe, you believe, we all believe it's going to pay off. Sean Kilpatrick is the man. Does he have the superstar level to his game? It's going to be fun finding out. Even if Kilpatrick doesn't have the highest gear to his game and basically repeats this season, he's going to end up with historic numbers. Barring injury or suspension of course. Kilpatrick has played in 106 games. Another 34 game season pushes him past Cashmere Wright into the lead for most games played as a Cincinnati Bearcat. He needs to UC to play 35 games and start in all of them to tie Steve Logan for 5th in games started at 106. He's going to challenge Deonta Vaughn for the 3 point crown. Vaughn has 309. Kilpatrick has 220, but has made 92 and 82 the past two years. He needs 90 to pass. He needs an even 80 to become the 3rd Bearcat in history to make 300 three pointers. Kilpatrick has attempted 634 threes. He's going to move into the top 5 in 3 point attempts in the first month of the season as he is 20 behind Field Williams. If he attempts 267 like he did this year, he will become the first Bearcat in history to attempt 900 three pointers. Speaking of shot attempts, if Kilpatrick attempts another 488, he will have 1,669 attempts. That would put him second all time behind the Big O. Finally, Sean Kilpatrick has 1,444 points. That already ranks 15th all time. He needs 556 for 2,000. If he hits his point total of 577 again, he will finish with 2,021 points That would make Kilpatrick the second Bearcat in history with over 2,000 points and obviously the second leading scorer in Cincinnati history. That's the history Sean Kilpatrick is chasing. The legacy making history.
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