After playing 20 minutes per game as a spark off the bench his freshman year, Sean Kilpatrick stepped into a starter's role for the Cincinnati Bearcats. While his per-minute production took a hit, from 19.7 points per 40 minutes to 16.8, his 14.3 points per game led the deep Bearcats in scoring.
Kilpatrick's bread and butter remains his jump shot, with over 50% of his offense coming from behind the three point line, where he shoots 37.6% from three point range on nearly 7 attempts per game, with range out beyond the NBA three point line. Kilpatrick has a short, compact release which allows him to get his shot off with little space and shows very good follow through and consistency in his release, leading to consistent results.
He also does a good job shooting off the dribble, showing an ability to square up and gain his balance off the dribble. This threat to shoot off the dribble opens up some driving lanes for Kilpatrick, which is mostly a mixed bag at this point. Kilpatrick is fairly quick, and has a strong frame, making him a threat to get in the paint if defenses close out recklessly. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Kilpatrick got 11.8% of his offense off of isolation situations this past year, up from just 2.3% his freshman year.
Not having great size, and showing just average explosiveness, Kilpatrick struggles finishing around the rim. He looks to show signs of having a solid floater and pull-up game, which if he can improve upon could help him mask this limitation somewhat.
The biggest obstacle preventing Kilpatrick from getting substantially more of his offense off of penetration right now is his lack of advanced ball handling moves. Kilpatrick is an average ball handler for a guard, lacking much in the way of counter moves and ability to change direction, and his left hand is under-developed. He does a good job of keeping turnovers to a minimum, but improving his ball handling skills is absolutely imperative if he hopes to become an effective high-volume shot creator.
Looking forward, Kilpatrick is a good shooter off catch and shoot opportunities, with a large portion of his jump shots coming in classic catch and shoot situations. He does a good job of being in good shooting position and ready for the pass, and his quick, consistent release make him a threat to shoot with the slightest bit of space. As he looks to move to the next level this is an area where a large portion of his offense is likely to come from as he's asked to create less for himself and others.
His ability to shoot off the dribble also lends him to potentially becoming a pick and roll threat at the next level. Kilpatrick hasn't been used very heavily in pick and roll sets thus far, as Cincinnati doesn't run a whole lot of pick and rolls to begin with and when they do Cashmere Wright and Dion Dixon have gotten the most of the opportunities. That being said, while Kilpatrick isn't all that natural of a passer, he has shown good ability as a scorer off the pick and roll in the limited opportunities he has gotten, with an ability to both get into the lane and shoot off the dribble. With Cincinnati having lost Dion Dixon to graduation, whether or not Kilpatrick is placed in more pick and roll opportunities will be interesting to watch.
On the defensive side of the ball, Kilpatrick stands 6'4" with an average wingspan, which could present some problems defending bigger shooting guards at the next level. He moves his feet relatively well, and puts a very good effort in, but struggles recognizing and fighting over screens. Continuing to add strength to his frame would be beneficial going forward.
With Cincinnati having lost Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates to graduation, they will be looking for Cashmere Wright and Sean Kilpatrick to create more for them in the half-court. In order to do so, Kilpatrick will have to become a more well-rounded scorer. How well Kilpatrick, reportedly a very hard worker, improves upon these skills could go a long way towards determining what kind of role he may be able to fill at the next level.