On Tuesday night, Sean Kilpatrick scored 21 points, not only helping the Delware 87ers to a victory, but also logging his best performance to date with his new team.
Converting on 7 of 9 field-goal attempts (while also knocking down 4 of 5 from deep), the guard proved to be as efficient as can be. He's getting more and more comfortable following a surprising post-Showcase trade sent him packing from Santa Cruz to join the 87ers.
But as fate would have it, he feels good about his "new" surroundings, and it shows.
"I feel great about it. The 87ers' have been great with me being here. It's good for me, because I'm able to play and be around my family and friends," Kilpatrick recently told RidiculousUpside.com. "Not only that, but I'm able to play more comfortably. I'm an east coast guy. It made things easier on my end."
Though the young gun eventually went on to spend training camp with the Golden State Warriors (signaling a subsequent transition to Santa Cruz in the D-League thereafter), he initially spent NBA Summer League with the Philadelphia 76ers. Obviously, he made a positive enough impression for the organization to acquire him via the affiliated 87ers last month.
"Playing with them in Summer League really ended up playing in my favor, because the coaching staff in Delaware already knows me and the way I play," he asserted. "Now that I'm here on the D-League level, it obviously shows that they're interested. I need to keep honing my craft and continue working hard. That's something that they see in me and have taken another chance. I'm grateful to be here."
But if all the familiarity going around wasn't enough, it certainly doesn't hurt that Kilpatrick will actually get to go home later this week. Delaware will play the Knicks at the Westchester County Center on Friday night. Thus, the 25 year old will return to his old stomping grounds, as he first strutted his stuff at the arena as a youngster coming up in White Plains and Yonkers in the Big Apple.
"I've heard stories that the whole place is sold out by now. It's great to be able to play in front of that crowd," Kilpatrick said. "The last time I was there was about five or six years ago. Playing in front of everyone there, for me, is something that is, and will, be really amazing."
He added that it'll be nice to play in front of family and friends, and that his daughter provides him with even more motivation. His house is mere minutes from the Westchester arena. The Warriors were not set to make an appearance in town this season.
As the season progresses, Kilpatrick can only hope to improve his game. After becoming known as someone who could pour in the points and score with ease at the collegiate level, he now looks to become even more versatile while contributing in other ways on the D-League level.
"I've been continuing to work on my rebounding and getting those assists. I'm working on my shot selection. It doesn't matter how many points you score nowadays," the guard asserted. "It's more so about your percentages and whether you're taking good shots or bad ones. That's what I'm working on. I want to find my niche and know when to attack the defense."
Of course, sometimes representing yourself well on the court is not merely enough. Such athletes need to find other positive ways to present themselves. Perhaps with that in mind, Kilpatrick has started "The Cream Brand" clothing line in an effort to promote his brand, and the message that, perseverance is key in one's journey.
"The guys that are with me [at The Cream Brand] are guys who have gone overlooked all their lives. I want them to keep pushing. I was a guy who went undrafted, so me being able to keep grinding and making a statement is something I wanted to promote, especially via clothing," Kilpatrick said. "A lot of guys relate to it, because everyone has been an underdog at one point in their lives. I'm able to put it in bold print."
"It's really important," he said of spreading such a positive message. "You have guys in the D-League that went undrafted [in the NBA]. They are talented, but simply weren't given that chance. As for me, I'm a guy that went undrafted. I was the second leading scorer [in Cincinnati history]. I was an All-American in college. That's something that puts a chip on my shoulder, and I'm going to keep playing like that."