Sean Kilpatrick hopes to trade suitcase for stability

NEW YORK -- Sean Kilpatrick is sick and tired of being a basketball vagabond.

"For the past two years, I've been living out of a suitcase and I've been on edge about everything -- not being able to sleep because I didn't know where I'd be playing each week," Kilpatrick told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

"One week I'd be with one team in one city, and the next week I'd be playing for another team in another city. Now it's like, when does this stop?"

Maybe it finally stops with his sixth NBA organization in two seasons: the Brooklyn Nets.

Kilpatrick, a 26-year-old journeyman guard from Yonkers, New York, who went undrafted in 2014 despite putting up stellar numbers at Cincinnati, has proved to be a pleasant surprise for the Nets since signing a pair of 10-day contracts, averaging 11.9 points and shooting 48.4 percent from 3-point range in eight games.

On Thursday, Brooklyn rewarded Kilpatrick -- who had been leading the D-League in scoring (26.2 PPG) -- with a multi-year deal.

Kilpatrick signed a three-year contract that is fully guaranteed for the rest of this season and next season, his agent, Zach Kurtin, told ESPN.com. The rest of this season is prorated at $221,000 -- more than the minimum. Kilpatrick will get a fully guaranteed $980,000 minimum salary in 2016-17 and has a non-guaranteed salary of $1.05 million in 2017-18, which kicks in fully if he’s not waived by June 30, 2017.

"When you have a guy coming up from the D-League who wants to be in the NBA, there's a certain level of being hungry and wanting to impress," Nets coach Tony Brown said recently. "I can't take anything away from him.

"He's a scorer in the D-League and he's brought that to the NBA. He recognizes when he has shots and he recognizes when he has to attack off the dribble. He has a good feel for the game."

Kilpatrick grew up in Cottage Place Gardens -- a tough section of housing projects in Yonkers. His mother, Regina Smith, worked tirelessly to support her family, but Kilpatrick remembers a time when all he and his younger brother would eat for dinner was cereal.

Regina put a ball in her son's hands as a way to ultimately save his life and keep him off the streets. It worked. Kilpatrick starred at White Plains High School, averaging 28 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists during his four-year career.

"She's my hero because at the end of the day, if it wasn't for her, I don't know where I'd be," Kilpatrick said of his mother. "After every game to this day, the first person I come out of the locker room and talk to is my mom."

Kilpatrick went on to play a year at Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts before selecting Cincinnati, where he figured he'd make an immediate impact. But because there was so much depth -- including highly touted freshman Lance Stephenson -- in the backcourt, Bearcats coach Mick Cronin wanted Kilpatrick to redshirt.

At first, he said no before changing his mind and trusting Cronin. It was a smart decision.

Kilpatrick (2,145 career points) finished second on the program's all-time scoring list behind only Oscar Robinson and was named an All-American as a senior.

He seemed like a lock to be taken in the 2014 NBA draft. His parents threw him a party in New York City for the big night. But concerns arose over his age (then 24) and a persistent knee injury -- later diagnosed as a slight meniscus tear that required minor surgery -- which caused him to miss the scouting combine.

Around the announcement of the 52nd pick, Kilpatrick said he walked out of the room and later began to cry. All 30 franchises had passed him up.

"I was crying because it was like, 'Why me?'" Kilpatrick said. "After the season I'd just had, being an All-American and not getting drafted, that was unheard of. That's like [Oklahoma's] Buddy Hield not getting drafted [in 2016]. I didn't understand.

"I didn't answer my phone for like a week straight. I didn't call anyone. I was just in the gym working on my game and I said to myself one day everybody's going to understand and realize what they missed out on."

Kilpatrick received offers to go overseas but declined because he didn't want to leave his daughter, Bailey, now 5.

As a rookie, he spent time with Philadelphia and Golden State, playing in the D-League for both organizations. He made his NBA debut March 19, 2015, after signing a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The injury-plagued Timberwolves were granted a hardship waiver and brought in Kilpatrick essentially because he lived in Delaware, a couple of hours from Madison Square Garden. He played four games for the Timberwolves but didn't stick.

From there, it was onto Milwaukee, New Orleans, Delaware and then Denver in Year 2, where he finally got another shot at the NBA in the form of a pair of 10-day contracts. But despite appearing in eight games, Kilpatrick didn't stick there either. He went back to Philly's D-League team and was scoring in bunches before Nets GM Sean Marks gave him a shot in Brooklyn.

Kilpatrick would prefer never to go back to the minors again. There's nothing glamorous about it -- just long bus rides, connecting flights, no workout facilities and having to share hotel rooms on the road.

"Staying in five-star hotels and eating at five-star restaurants -- this is something that people live for," Kilpatrick said. "You cherish it."

Kilpatrick feels comfortable playing in Brooklyn in front of friends and family. Brown has instilled him with confidence, and the New York native has been able to consistently score in bunches off the bench.

"I'm home," he said.

Maybe Sean Kilpatrick's days of being a basketball vagabond are finally over.