Carl Kilpatrick (211 cm) pelasi Pyrinnön riveissä kaudella 1980/81, jolloin joukkue pelasi finaaleissa Torpan Poikia vastaan.  Pyrintö sijoittui lopulta hopealle. 29 vuotta myöhemmin Pyrintö sai revanssin, kun Torpan Pojat kaatui 2010 finaaleissa 3-2.

New Orleans Jazz draftasi Kilpatrickin vuoden 1978 NBA draftissa kahdeksannen kierroksen kuudentena pelaajana. Kilpatrick pelasi pari ottelua NBA:ssa ennen Suomeen saapumistaan.

Pyrinnön koripallojaoston puheenjohtaja J-P Nieminen sai Pyrinnön entisen pelaajan Timo Hintsasen avulla yhteyden Kilpatrickkiin, joka kertoi mielellään mitä on puuhaillut Suomen vierailunsa jälkeen.

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Carl Kilpatrick donkkaa - Ervin Latimer seuraa vierestä

Carl Kilpatrick donkkaa - Ervin Latimer seuraa vierestä

Kuva: Teemu Hintsanen

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Since leaving Finland in 1981 I have lived in Utah and Washington state. I have three children, Coty, Callie, and Austin. All played basketball with Coty going on to play at the University of Colorado-Pueblo and Austin at Idaho State University.

I currently live in Milton, Washington which is just south of Seattle.

Over the last (26) years I have been in the commercial refrigeration industry. Primarily my capacity was in sales and project management. The manufacturing companies that I worked for produced display cases and compressor systems for grocery stores and industrial application.

I am planning now to open a UPS franchise store. We will focus on shipping, mail boxes, printing, and large format copies (blueprints). The target month for opening is August of this year.

I stayed involved with the game through the coaching of my children. I coached their AAU teams until they reached high school. Unfortunately, due to knee injuries I have been unable to play for many years.

After returning to the U.S. I underwent another knee surgery. Shortly after that I played in the Los Angeles Summer Pro League with the New York Knicks. I sustained another knee injury which ultimately ended my career.

My hobbies and pasttimes have been golf, hiking, snowshoeing, fitness, and riding motorcycles.

I have only fond memories of my time in Finland. I felt like the people and my teammates embraced me immediately as if I was their own. I have always appreciated that. I recall the bus rides through the beautiful countryside of Finland. My teammates getting really loud and excited over the card game that they played! I enjoyed playing with the team because they were all very good players that knew how to play the right way. Because of that we made it to the national finals!

Unfortunately, communication almost thirty years ago wasn’t what it is now so I’ve lost touch with my teammates.

Coincidentally, a friend of mine, Josh Stienthol recently played a few seasons on a Finnish team.

I was really excited to hear that you brought a championship to Tampere! After all these years it finally happened! That was great to hear! Congratulations to the team, the organization, and to the city!

I can recall the battles that we had in the best-of-five series in the finals of 1981. It was a close series and we played tough but fell just short. It was still a memorable season.

My opinion of how the game has changed is that more of a focus is put on team defense. I see this so much in the college game with the changing from match-up zones to man defense and so forth with each possession. From the different presses that are applied to keep the offense off balance. The game is also considerably faster today. The NBA game seems to be more about entertainment these days as opposed to the way of earlier years. In my opinion the college game has stayed pure with players going hard 100% of the time.

One distinct memory that I have of the home games was a group of young boys that stood on the baseline and would chant my “Finnish name” KARLE! KARLE! During one game introduction I ran over and high-fived them during their chant! I don’t know if they got a charge out of that but I thought it was funny!

Travelling to Finland was a major adventure for me. Spending a season in a great country with great people has been a terrific memory for me. I wish the Pyrinto organization, my former teammates, and the city of Tampere only the best for the future. Again, congratulations on your national championship!

Carl Kilpatrick

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Lue myös: Vuolle muistelee: SM-finaalisarja Topo-Pyrintö 1981