Patience pays off for Cincinnati’s Kilpatrick
by Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick has patience down pat. After all, he has spent a few years of his basketball life waiting (and waiting) for this moment.
“It means more because I waited this long and worked this hard to get to this point,” Kilpatrick says. “Now I have the opportunity; I have to take full advantage of it.”
In high school, he had to wait his turn at White Plains (N.Y.) High before finishing as the school’s No. 2 all-time scorer. Then, after he said he would go to St. John’s, low SAT scores kept him from enrolling. Instead he spent a year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass.
After Kilpatrick improved his scores, he signed with Cincinnati. But Bearcats coach Mick Cronin asked him to redshirt.
“Coming out of high school and prep school, you want to play, but sometimes the time isn’t for you; that’s how I took it,” Kilpatrick said. “I took every practice from then until now as if it’s a game. If you look at it more seriously, when game time does come, things become easier.
“You just have to be patient, just be patient, and when time comes, take every opportunity.”
Finally, this is Kilpatrick’s time.
The 6-4, 221-pound junior, coming off a breakout season in which he averaged 14.3 points a game, is a preseason All-Big East first-team selection. Last season, Cincinnati went 26-11, reached the title game of the Big East tournament for the first time and advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.
With a deep team that includes three returning starters and one of the league’s best backcourts with Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker, some Bearcats were a bit disappointed with preseason projections. Cincinnati was picked to finish fourth in the league and was left out of the preseason USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll.
“Individually we’re under the radar, and the team is still under the radar,” Wright says. “We were picked fourth in the league after we made it to the Big East championship game. People still are not giving us credit.”
Some might argue that Kilpatrick … [For more on Patience pays off for No. 24 Cincinnati's Kilpatrick, click here.]