"I'm relieved," Patterson said Wednesday afternoon. "That's the best way to put it."
Patterson (6-11 1/2, 225 pounds) joins Arapahoe (Littleton) guard Levi Knutson as the two players signing with Colorado during the early signing period. A third player, Stephen Franklin, has opened up his recruiting in the wake of CU coach Ricardo Patton's plans to leave the Buffalo program after this season.
Patterson said Patton's move was a disappointment, initially.
"I was disappointed because I really wanted to play for him," Patterson said. "But at the same time, I knew that Coach Patton, he's a good guy, and he had his reasons. I talked with him and I had no problem after that."
In the past two weeks since Patton's announcement, two schools — Central Arkansas and Auburn — came after Patterson, who had verballed to the Buffs in September. But Patterson stuck with CU.
"Just the fact that it's the Big 12," Patterson said when asked why he still wanted to attend CU even though Patton is leaving. "It's a high-profile conference. And I got along good with the players (on his visit). Everything about it up there I like."
Patterson averaged 17 points, 13 boards and 5 blocks a game last season as a junior at Ringwood, and was named all-state. He led his Class A small school team to the state tournament his sophomore and junior seasons. It was Ringwood's first state tourney appearances in 35 years.
Patterson chose CU over offers from Wichita State, Rice, Navy, Coalgate, Lehigh and Wofford. He played on the Oklahoma Trotters summer league team, and Patton and Company decided to offer Patterson after seeing him play in a summer tournament.
Sorting Out 2007-08
Today's events regarding letters of intent for the Buffs leave one thing clear. Namely, exactly who will be playing for the Buffs in 2007-08 is far from clear.
What We Know: CU currently has 12 scholarship players on its roster, including seven freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and two seniors. That's one under the NCAA limit of 13. While Patterson and Knutson are on board for the 2007 class, exactly how many scholarships will be available for a possible third — or fourth — signee are yet to be determined. Here are the variables.
• Marcus Hall. The 6-1 senior is sitting this semester out because of academic issues. Provided he gets his work done in the classroom this fall, he will be academically eligible to play sometime in late December.
However, in September, Patton left the door open for Hall missing the entire season and taking a redshirt in 2006-07. If that happens, Hall would take one of the 13 scholarships next year.
• Richard Roby. The junior tested the NBA waters this past summer before deciding to come back and play at Colorado this year. Many assume Roby will make the leap to the NBA next summer, forgoing his senior year at CU. But that's far from a done deal. Don't be shocked if Roby uses his four years of college basketball eligibility at CU. His brother, Kenyon Martin, played four years at Cincinnati before becoming the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
• Seven Frosh. In Roby's case, a decision to stay put or change his scenery could very well depend on who the new coach at Colorado will be. Likewise, it's conceivable one or more of the current freshmen could decide to leave the program if they don't see eye to eye with the eventual coach.
What it all means is while the Buffs focus squarely on this season, Patton's final in Boulder, things will remain unsettled about next season until a new hire is made.