HOOPS: Patterson Says No Favorites Yet

It's getting to be a bit of a drag for Patrick Patterson these days. He gets asked the same question wherever he goes by reporters hoping to get the scoop on where he's going to play basketball in college, and when he gets home, it's the same letters, same text messages from the same old coaches. "Same speech, different coach," is the way he puts it.

(See Patrick Patterson profile)

Every day it seems there is a new report indicating that one school or another has taken the lead for this 6-9, 235-pound power forward from Huntington, West Virginia. There's only one problem. He can't begin to tell you who's leading and he's not even going to try until summer camps and AAU tournaments are a thing of the past.

Then things will get serious. Very serious.

"There's a lot of talk right now but I don't have real favorites yet," Patterson told Gator Country Monday afternoon. "Miami, Florida, Georgia, Wake Forest, Tennessee, KentuckyDuke is just now starting to talk to me. There's Virginia and Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Pitt, too. And there's Cincinnati, Louisville and Oklahoma. Everybody says I've narrowed it down but really, I haven't even started yet."

All those schools and plenty of others have extended scholarship offers. A handful will get official visits in August and September. In previous interviews, he's said that Wake Forest, Kentucky and Florida for certain will get an official visit but it's a tossup even if he will take more than those three visits. He plans to have a decision made long before the early signing day in November.

"I got too many things to consider right now," he said. "I plan to figure things out by the time I get through with the camps and tournaments."

Patterson is rated five stars by Scout.com and he's considered the number 15 prospect overall nationally. He's considered a rebounding machine that excels on the offensive glass where he uses great timing, strong hands and good positioning to dominate. He's got a versatile inside game that has been enhanced by the development of a consistent mid-range jump shot during the camp/AAU season.

At the NBA Players Association Development Camp and this past weekend at the Nike camp in Indianapolis, his stock has risen as he's shown off a more polished game. Coaches like the way he runs the floor and uses his strength to overpower opponents. They also like the way he plays defense.

"My coach always emphasizes that a great offense starts with a great defense," said Patterson. "It always starts with the defense. That's what usually starts our fast breaks. You can have a so-so day with the offense but if you're playing great defense, you can hang around and have a chance to win."

At the NBA camp, he says he was able to show off the consistency he's found in his jump shot.

"It was falling from medium range," he said. "I think I also showed that I'm improved as a passer. I've been working on those with Jai Lucas (point guard from Houston, son of former NBA star and coach John Lucas)."

At Nike, he got to showcase his inside offensive game.

"Overall I was pretty pleased with my performance in the post," he said. "I felt good with the turnaround, facing the basket and making moves. I think I had a pretty solid camp."

Patterson will be one of the featured attractions this week at the Nike Peach Jam in Augusta, Georgia. He will also be playing in the AAU Nationals and the AAU Super Showcase events in Orlando later in the month and then he will start sorting through all the offers to start the process that will lead to a final decision.

What will factor in the selection process are "the relationship between the coaches and my family, academics, and the overall campus such as dorms and the basketball team."

When it comes to the relationship between coaches and his family, he extended that to "finding a coach that is like a second father figure … someone I can feel close enough to talk to anytime about anything."

Academics aren't a problem wherever he goes. He's got a 3.5 grade point average and already has a qualifying score on the ACT. His college plan is to major in computer business.

"I love everything about computers," he said. "It's pretty cool that you can talk to people all over the world with your computer. I've always loved computers and technology. I want to someday have my own computer business."

The campus atmosphere is highly important to him. He wants to go to school on a campus where he can fit right in with the student body and feel he belongs. It's also important for him to find a school where all sports are important, not just basketball or football.

"I'd like to go to a place where people are in love with all the sports … football basketball, baseball, girls' sports … all the sports," he said. "I want it to be a school where there is a commitment to all the sports on campus."

As for the basketball team, he will be looking for team chemistry first and foremost.

"It needs to be a team that's like family," he said. "I want to play with guys that like to play basketball together but they also like to hang out together and do all kinds of stuff together."

Meanwhile he's got three more weeks of camps and tournaments and of course, a high school season to play. Before the high school season begins, he wants to have his college choice already made so he can concentrate on doing whatever he can to help Huntington High School win a West Virginia State championship.

"I want to finish up strong and then get the recruiting stuff out of the way," he said. "Right now, I just don't know. Just too much to think about right now."

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