Shooting Guard Makes Early Commit to Cal

<p><em><small>Photo by Juliann Tallino<br>MaxPreps.com</small></em></p> <p>Prep basketball devotees have been following with great interest the steady progress of Patrick Christopher, a 6'4 190 lbs two-guard at Mayfair High School in Lakewood, California; Christopher ranks with the best prep players in California. This junior, a rising back court star with a sweet stroke, recently committed to play for Cal.</p>

Why did Christopher choose Cal so early in his recruiting process when he also had Washington, Texas, North Carolina, and UCLA in hot pursuit?

"I really like the style of play at Cal, and I feel they are a program where I can make an impact," said Christopher in talking about his 'verbal'. "I'm a shooter and they approached me with exactly what I was looking for in a school; great academics and a rising program. I am confident that I can make a contribution right away."

Christopher is an easy-going young man who carries himself with quiet confidence. It's that confidence, arising from family influences, that causes Christopher to stand out both on and off the court. Christopher says that his mother's wisdom, her charitable works, the friendship of his sister Paris, and the guidance of his Godparents Diane and Thomas Prince (the parents of NBA star Tayshaun Prince), have all contributed to his sense of balance and confidence.

"Patrick is a smart and creative young man," his mother Pat says. "He is a goal-setter. For instance, this past year he wanted to be the MVP of his league (the Suburban League). And he did that, even though he was a just a sophomore. He loves basketball; you can almost always find him on the court. Whether he's frustrated about something or he's content, Patrick has always been that way with basketball."

An important factor in Christopher's decision to attend Cal is that his sister Paris is a sophomore at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA. A close relationship with his sister is an important part of his life: they watch out for each other.

Paris is three grade years older than Christopher, and played college basketball at St. Mary's for one year before stepping away from the sport due to knee problems. Her experience has given Christopher an important perspective on his sport and helps explain why academics have become much more than just a component in his decision.

Close family friends Tayshaun Prince and former Mayfair High School star Josh Childress have contributed important perspectives as well. These two current NBA small forwards have both had an impact on Christopher's direction and decisions.

"When he was younger, I'd see him over at the Prince's house shooting baskets all the time - even when they weren't home," said Christopher's mother. "I told him not to play there when the Princes weren't home. But they wouldn't have any part of that. They made sure Patrick knew he could be there anytime he wanted."

Christopher attended every one of Tayshaun Prince's high school games, and followed him as closely as time and distance permitted during AAU basketball tournaments across the country, despite their age difference. Even today when Prince, now a young star with the NBA Champion Detroit Pistons, visits Los Angeles, the two hook-up.

Christopher has also been influenced by former Stanford star and last-year's Pac-10 Player of the Year, Josh Childress.

Christopher has been close to the Mayfair basketball program, where Childress also starred during his prep career, since his early teens. He was a ball boy for the Mayfair Monsoons and watched Childress at every opportunity. In the seventh grade, Christopher borrowed one of Childress' Mayfair basketball jerseys for use as a Halloween costume. Just a few months ago, Childress surprised Christopher with a message and offered him some advice on his recruiting process.

Growing up surrounded by support while frequently playing with older kids taught Christopher some important lessons. Early on he leaned that if he was going to compete with older players, he would need to spend a lot of time watching games, studying moves – and that this could be as important as actually playing.

As he matured, Christopher relied on advice his mother gave him. "You have to create opportunities for yourself," she said.

Christopher has done that. His AAU Coach with California Elite, Dave Miller, had nothing but glowing words for the improvement and work ethic for this shooting guard.

"The two things that stand out the most about Patrick and his game are his shot and the athleticism he possess," said the former USC assistant. "He challenges defenders by making them decide to either guard against his jumper or guard against his slashing ability. Even if you play off him, he can still go right by you. He is just extremely fluid.

"I think what really earned a Pac-10 shot for him is his work ethic. We practice for two hours straight at game speed on weekends in preparation for summer tournaments and Patrick is the rare type of athlete who could stop after the two hours, take a drink, and then shoot another 200 hundred jumpers at game speed. Few of the kids I've had could do that. He's also dedicated. And I give all the credit for that to his mother. She's just a great individual."

"I think Patrick has found a terrific situation for himself in playing for Coach Braun," continued Miller. "Braun is one of the five best teachers of the game and I see an excellent fit for him both athletically and academically at Cal."

The relationship between the Cal staff and Christopher's family was a hit from the start. "We had an immediate connection," Christopher's mother said. "He's one of the few coaches who I believe carries himself with a warmness for his players. I have absolutely no problems with him coaching my son. He's such an uplifting guy."

Like his close friend Tayshaun Prince, who some questioned when he decided to go to move across country from Los Angeles to play at Kentucky, Christopher understands that people will question his commitment that was made so early in the recruiting process.

"Does Patrick question his decision to attend Cal? Not at all," says his mother. "Does he question the earliness of his commitment? Absolutely, as would any sixteen-year-old. I'm proud of him and the courage it takes to make such a commitment to invest in his future and I support him whole heartedly. I'm his number one fan."


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If you haven't done so already, subscribe to The Bear Insider so you can participate in this very active online Cal community and get access yo the members-only content from the nation-wide Scout.com network.

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Why did Christopher choose Cal so early in his recruiting process when he also had Washington, Texas, North Carolina, and UCLA in hot pursuit?

"I really like the style of play at Cal, and I feel they are a program where I can make an impact," said Christopher in talking about his 'verbal'. "I'm a shooter and they approached me with exactly what I was looking for in a school; great academics and a rising program. I am confident that I can make a contribution right away."

Christopher is an easy-going young man who carries himself with quiet confidence. It's that confidence, arising from family influences, that causes Christopher to stand out both on and off the court. Christopher says that his mother's wisdom, her charitable works, the friendship of his sister Paris, and the guidance of his Godparents Diane and Thomas Prince (the parents of NBA star Tayshaun Prince), have all contributed to his sense of balance and confidence.

"Patrick is a smart and creative young man," his mother Pat says. "He is a goal-setter. For instance, this past year he wanted to be the MVP of his league (the Suburban League). And he did that, even though he was a just a sophomore. He loves basketball; you can almost always find him on the court. Whether he's frustrated about something or he's content, Patrick has always been that way with basketball."

An important factor in Christopher's decision to attend Cal is that his sister Paris is a sophomore at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA. A close relationship with his sister is an important part of his life: they watch out for each other.

Paris is three grade years older than Christopher, and played college basketball at St. Mary's for one year before stepping away from the sport due to knee problems. Her experience has given Christopher an important perspective on his sport and helps explain why academics have become much more than just a component in his decision.

Close family friends Tayshaun Prince and former Mayfair High School star Josh Childress have contributed important perspectives as well. These two current NBA small forwards have both had an impact on Christopher's direction and decisions.

"When he was younger, I'd see him over at the Prince's house shooting baskets all the time - even when they weren't home," said Christopher's mother. "I told him not to play there when the Princes weren't home. But they wouldn't have any part of that. They made sure Patrick knew he could be there anytime he wanted."

Christopher attended every one of Tayshaun Prince's high school games, and followed him as closely as time and distance permitted during AAU basketball tournaments across the country, despite their age difference. Even today when Prince, now a young star with the NBA Champion Detroit Pistons, visits Los Angeles, the two hook-up.

Christopher has also been influenced by former Stanford star and last-year's Pac-10 Player of the Year, Josh Childress.

Christopher has been close to the Mayfair basketball program, where Childress also starred during his prep career, since his early teens. He was a ball boy for the Mayfair Monsoons and watched Childress at every opportunity. In the seventh grade, Christopher borrowed one of Childress' Mayfair basketball jerseys for use as a Halloween costume. Just a few months ago, Childress surprised Christopher with a message and offered him some advice on his recruiting process.

Growing up surrounded by support while frequently playing with older kids taught Christopher some important lessons. Early on he leaned that if he was going to compete with older players, he would need to spend a lot of time watching games, studying moves – and that this could be as important as actually playing.

As he matured, Christopher relied on advice his mother gave him. "You have to create opportunities for yourself," she said.

Christopher has done that. His AAU Coach with California Elite, Dave Miller, had nothing but glowing words for the improvement and work ethic for this shooting guard.

"The two things that stand out the most about Patrick and his game are his shot and the athleticism he possess," said the former USC assistant. "He challenges defenders by making them decide to either guard against his jumper or guard against his slashing ability. Even if you play off him, he can still go right by you. He is just extremely fluid.

"I think what really earned a Pac-10 shot for him is his work ethic. We practice for two hours straight at game speed on weekends in preparation for summer tournaments and Patrick is the rare type of athlete who could stop after the two hours, take a drink, and then shoot another 200 hundred jumpers at game speed. Few of the kids I've had could do that. He's also dedicated. And I give all the credit for that to his mother. She's just a great individual."

"I think Patrick has found a terrific situation for himself in playing for Coach Braun," continued Miller. "Braun is one of the five best teachers of the game and I see an excellent fit for him both athletically and academically at Cal."

The relationship between the Cal staff and Christopher's family was a hit from the start. "We had an immediate connection," Christopher's mother said. "He's one of the few coaches who I believe carries himself with a warmness for his players. I have absolutely no problems with him coaching my son. He's such an uplifting guy."

Like his close friend Tayshaun Prince, who some questioned when he decided to go to move across country from Los Angeles to play at Kentucky, Christopher understands that people will question his commitment that was made so early in the recruiting process.

"Does Patrick question his decision to attend Cal? Not at all," says his mother. "Does he question the earliness of his commitment? Absolutely, as would any sixteen-year-old. I'm proud of him and the courage it takes to make such a commitment to invest in his future and I support him whole heartedly. I'm his number one fan."


©Copyright 2005, BearInsider.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe to The Bear Insider so you can participate in this very active online Cal community and get access yo the members-only content from the nation-wide Scout.com network.

Bear Insider staff writers visit the Insider discussion board regularly, and are available to discuss questions you may have about this article and Cal Athletics.

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