Sean Kilpatrick allowed all of Bearcats country to breathe a sigh of relief Wednesday when he announced he would be returning for his senior season. As I wrote yesterday, it was a mature decision in line with the way Kilpatrick has carried himself since arriving at UC.
Kilpatrick expects to graduate in December and accounted that as the biggest reason for returning. Yet, in the meantime, he could reach hallowed ground in the Bearcats record books along the way to go down as one of the great UC players of all time.
His legacy will certainly be as a premier scorer. Kilpatrick finished his junior season averaging 17.0 points per game. For his career, he's scored 1,444 points placing him 16th on the all-time scoring list.
Here is the all-time list:
1. Oscar Robertson (1958-60): 2,973
2. Steve Logan (1999-02): 1,985
3. Deonta Vaughn (2007-10): 1,885
4. Danny Fortson (1995-97): 1,881
5. Roger McClendon (1984-88): 1,789
6. Pat Cummings (1975-79): 1,762
7. Ron Bonham (1962-64): 1,666
8. Lou Banks (1988-91): 1,644
9. Jack Twyman (1952-55): 1,598
10. Lloyd Batts (1972-74): 1,585
11. Darnell Burton (1994-97): 1,584
12. Jason Maxiell (2002-05): 1,566
13. Robert Miller (1975-78): 1,498
14. Yancy Gates (2009-12): 1,485
15. Dwight Jones (1980-83): 1,451
16. Sean Kilpatrick (2011-present): 1,444
17. Paul Hogue (1960-62): 1,391
Mick Cronin talked about how SK improved every season since his arrival at UC and the numbers bare that out. Kilpatrick's points per game average jumped at least 2.7 points each year.
"He's probably the most improved player that I've coached as a head coach," Cronin said.
Here are his career stats in average per game broken down by year:
|Years||FG||3-pt||FT||Points per game|
|2010-11||3.3-7.5 (.437)||1.3-3.5 (.377)||1.9-2.6 (.722)||9.7|
|2011-12||5.0-11.7 (.428)||2.5-6.6 (.376)||1.8-2.4 (.750)||14.3|
|2012-13||5.7-14.4 (.398)||2.4-7.9 (.307)||3.1-4.3 (.738)||17.0|
The biggest difference this season would be his increased trips to the free throw line, though it was coupled with his falling 3-point percentage. That said, let's go under the assumption he again averages exactly 17 points per game and doesn't continue his current career trend arc.
At 17 points in each of 35 games, it would place him at 595 points for his senior season.
Add that up, his career total would be 2,039 career points. That would place him all alone at second all-time in UC history in points scored by 54 points. He would be only the second 2,000-point scorer in the history of the school behind the great Oscar Robertson.
Elite company, indeed.
Just for some perspective, SK would need to average 43.7 points per game this year to equal the career total The Big O did in three seasons with the Bearcats. Ridiculous.
His pursuit of the all-time scoring record books will be the most discussed, but not the only record SK will chase down.
Here are a few:
--- Career 3-pointers Made: He'll be in a battle for the record of career 3-point field goals made. He's at 220 right now. Should he make as many as this past season (82), he'd finish with 302 and the third most all time. But he will be close on the heels of Vaughn and Burton. Kilpatrick made 92 3-pointers as a sophomore. Replicating that season would put him neck-and-neck with Vaughn.
The current record book looks like this:
Career 3-pointers made:
1. Deonta Vaughn: 313
2. Darnell Burton: 306
3. Field Williams: 262
--- Career Shots Attempted: Few shoot as much as Kilpatrick and he'll be among the great gunslingers in UC history. He currently has 1,181 career shots. Should he shoot the exact same number as this past season (488), he would end up second behind Oscar Robertson at 1,669.
Career shots attempted:
1. Oscar Robertson: 1,968
2. Deonta Vaughn: 1,539
3. Jack Twyman: 1,477
--- Three consecutive years as leading scorer: Almost certainly SK will leave UC as one of the few to lead the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons. Since Oscar Robertson did it in 1960, only four others have accomplished the feat. Those are Deonta Vaughn, Roger McClendon, Lloyd Batts and Rick Roberson.
--- Preseason Conference Player of the Year: Reseraching preseason players of the year is about as easy as finding a preseason poll worth paying attention to. So, I can't tell you how many preseason players of the year there have been in UC history.
Kilpatrick will be in the conversation as preseason player of the year in the new American Athletic Conference. There is a chance he could end up the Player of the Year in the conference, that would make him the first player since Steve Logan in 2002 to accomplish the task.
UC dominated the award in C-USA: Danny Fortson (2x -- '96 and '97), Kenyon Martin (2000), Logan 2x (2001, '02). In the Metro, the only two UC players to win were Pat Cummings (1979) and Gary Yoder (1977).
Who would be some of his competition for preseason POY?
- Russ Smith, Louisville: If he returns to Louisville would earn the award, but appears he'll bolt.
- Shabazz Napier, UConn: Hasn't declared yet, but averaged 17.1 points and 4.6 assists last year
- Joe Jackson, Memphis: C-USA POY. Averaged 13.8 pts and 4.8 assists, 49.3 percent from deep.
That's about the list and SK will be in the conversation among these. Regardless of all these numbers and facts, Kilpatrick will go down as one of the most accomplished Bearcats of all-time. He solidified that fact Wednesday night.
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