YONKERS, N.Y. – Only one player in the history of basketball at the University of Cincinnati has scored more points than Yonkers native and White Plains High grad Sean Kilpatrick. Oscar Robertson ended up in the Hall of Fame, and Kilpatrick is leaving his own indelible imprint on the Bearcats’ basketball program.
Kilpatrick, a senior guard, surpassed 2,000 points for his career in last week’s 58-57 loss to Louisville in Cincinnati. Kilpatrick and the Bearcats (24-4) return to action Saturday in Hartford, Conn. Cincinnat is ranked 11th in the Associated Press Top 25 and 12th in the USA Today Top 25 poll.
Kilpatrick is averaging 20.5 points per game and scored 28 against Louisville. He is a two-time second-team All-Big East selection and is scoring more points this year than he has in the previous three seasons.
“I’m not in the mood to reflect right now,’’ coach Mick Cronin said in comments posted on the Cincinnati sports information website after Saturday’s loss about Kilpatrick reaching 2,000 points. “He’s not done. I’ll reflect on SK when the time comes. Everyone understands, I think he is one of the best three players in college basketball. I say the same thing everyday, he's the best guard in college basketball. Doug McDermott is probably having the best year, but SK plays defense too.”
At White Plains, Kilpatrick averaged 28.4 points and 7.0 rebounds and finished as the school’s second-leading scorer. He played for a year at Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts and helped the team earn a Top 10 national ranking.
Cronin had Kilpatrick redshirt in his first year at Cincinnati. Kilpatrick was stunned at the request, but it has turned out to his advantage.
“I used practice as a game,” Kilpatrick said in a story on CBSSports.com. “I knew I would be playing against the older guys. That was something that played a huge role. It helped me a lot. It made me a lot more focused, made me take things seriously. I paid attention to detail.”
Now he’s one of the top players in the country, and only the Big O stands ahead of him on Cincinnati’s scoring charts. Robertson has 2,973 career points.
“"I was really just trying to help my team,’’ Kilpatrick said Saturday on the UC website after surpassing 2,000. “Being a senior guard and being able to make big plays down the stretch, that's something that I strive for and something my team looks for. I was just trying to put my team in the best situation."
Kilpatrick, 24, and the Bearcats still have a lot of season left. There are three more regular season games and the American Athletic Conference championship, where Cincinnati will be among the favorites to get to the championship game. Cincinnati will also likely be a top five seed for the NCAA Tournament.
“I couldn't be doing the things I'm doing now without the redshirt,” Kilpatrick said in the CBSSports.com story. “I wouldn't know the things I know now.”