Every basketball player dreams of playing in the NBA. So when that call from the big league finally comes, presumably after years and years of hard work, such an opportunity can only be described as a blessing.
Unless that team is the 15-53 Minnesota Timberwolves. Then it's only "kind of a blessing."
Just ask Sean Kilpatrick, who started Thursday as a member of the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League but wound up playing for the Timberwolves during their 95-92 overtime victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
“I didn't think I was going to end up here," Kilpatrick said after the game, during which he went scoreless in 10 minutes on the court. "It's kind of a blessing.”
Well, maybe it was the Timberwolves who were truly blessed. With eight players unavailable due to injury, the team didn't even have enough healthy bodies to play an NBA game. It's a good thing Kilpatrick was fully capable of ... well, getting to the arena on time.
“We had to fulfill our rules, so we had to go find somebody that was within a train ride away,” Coach Flip Saunders said.
Kilpatrick actually drove up to the Garden, arriving 45 minutes before the start of the game.
To be fair, he's not just some schlub off the street. The guard/forward was a concensus second-team All-America pick last year as a senior at Cincinnati, averaging 20.6 points a game and leading the American Athletic Conference with 93 three-point field goals. He has averaged 13.6 points in 42 games this season with Delaware and Santa Cruz.
But you've got to admit, the way he broke into the NBA is pretty funny.
“We had him in before so we worked him out, so we knew about him and we've been following him, but there's no question that geography helped,” Saunders said of Kilpatrick, who signed a 10-day contract with the Timberwolves. “We had to have a guy here ready to play at 7:30.”