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Sean Kilpatrick on a summer well spent

The Nets lost their 62nd and last game of last season on April 12. It was deflating, but it also provided a rationale to get better ... in different ways. For some it was the daily grind putting up shots, for others long hours in the weight room. And for Sean Kilpatrick and Caris LeVert, it was all of that ... plus some time with Kevin Durant and Steve Nash.

“I received a text from him [Kevin Durant] saying he wanted us to come out there and work out with him,” SKilpatrick told NetsDaily. “When you receive a text like that from basically the best player in the NBA, you can’t turn a situation like that down. You drop everything and go out there.

“The experience was hands down one of the best I’ve had in my life and to see how KD thinks the game and works… it’s amazing. Steve Nash too. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Adam Harrington, the Nets director of player development and formerly Durant’s “shooting specialist” at OKC, provided the introduction.

If you follow Sean Kilpatrick in any way, you’ll notice his brand, his slogan “Undrafted”. He makes it loud and clear that his journey hasn’t been an easy one. He explained how the doubts of others and the uncertainty of his future never stopped him from reaching his goals. And basically, how all of that got him where he is today.

Call it a chip on his shoulder, if you want, but a lot of it is just pure drive. The time with Durant and Nash was a small part of a summer filled with work, work, work.

“Besides with KD, I’d say Caris [LeVert] and I were in the gym no more than one or two weeks after the season,” Kilpatrick said. “That speaks volume what we want and what we expect out of ourselves. The fact that we’re able to continue to stay hungry shows the type of people and players we are.”

Kilpatrick is one of the hardest working players on the roster and it continues to pay off. He averaged 13.4 points a game last season and he’s looked good, with a better three point shot, in preseason. His per-36 numbers were 27.7 points and 13.5 rebounds, shooting 42.9 percent from deep. It’s a small sample, but the Nets know what they get in Kilpatrick, someone who can score in bunches.

Call it common grit. His story is well-known. Kilpatrick was undrafted and spent two years in the D-League until Sean Marks swept him up and gave him first a couple of 10-days, then a multi-year contract in 2016. He’s one of those guys who Marks says performs above their pay grade.

The week in southern California during mid-August provided Kilpatrick and LeVert something beyond just putting up shots or one-on-one instruction. We heard about it from Caris LeVert’s end not long after the two returned to Brooklyn. Now, we hear it from Kilpatrick.

Durant told the two that they must be ready for “The Moment,” despite whatever tough days filled their past. Their day is coming. “Make sure you’re ready to play your best when the spotlight is on you.’” LeVert explained.

“It’s been great, having Kevin Durant as one of my mentors,” Kilpatrick told SLAM at the time. “It makes the process that much more enjoyable, just being able to pick his and Steve Nash’s brains. It also says a lot about Kevin Durant because everyday, he’s making sure he’s working with the greats. You can always figure out ways to help improve your game [when you’re] with him.”

Nash had a similar effect.

“He’s great. He’s somebody that’s great to talk to, really down to earth,” Kilpatrick told NetsDaily. “That was my first time meeting him so the fact that he was willing to pour his knowledge out to us was amazing. I was a fan from the jump, but that made me even more of a fan to see how he interacts with other people and how he treats other people.

“When he sat there and continuously told me what was going on, how it was in the NBA and what you gotta keep doing… it was breathtaking for me. For me to hear that from a guy that was MVP how many times? Not even just MVP’s, a guy that’s made it to the playoffs numerous times and by far one of the great point guards to ever play the game. It was really great for me.”

One of the biggest takeaways is not only the work on the court, but good character off it. Encouraging words for two young players looking to make it. Kilpatrick told ND how Steve Nash still reaches out to make sure he and LeVert are staying the course.

“Even now, he stays in touch with us and that’s something that really speaks volume. I mean, he can be doing anything but instead he makes sure he stays in touch with the guys that have worked with him. Whether it’s through social networks or text, he’s always making sure that he keeps in touch with us.”

Now, of course, it’s on the two of them to carry through on what he heard, what he learned.

Kilpatrick said he expects to hear from them throughout the season and hopes to work out with them again in the future. Both left with the most memorable words stuck in their heads, “Always be ready for that moment.”

“Just never give up on anything and even when everything seems hard, so far-fetched, so far away… just be ready to have enough ammo and enough power to keep kicking down doors,” Kilpatrick said.

“For me, to have that brand, to have that chip on my shoulder every time I step on the court – or even in life – you can move through life with that slogan. I want to make sure that I keep living through that,” Kilpatrick explained.

“I want my name to mean something.”