"I haven't received offers yet," Patrick said, "but a lot of schools seem very interested."
Patrick Christopher, a 6-foot-4 (actually, he says he's ‘going on 6-foot-5) senior shooting guard from Dominquez High in California, has received interest from Kentucky, Southern California, Washington and Texas since he told California that he wanted to reopen his recruitment in the spring.
And just this past week Indiana and Gonzaga has been added to his list.
"Right now there is no real leader. I am hoping to take some visits in the fall," Christopher said. "Kentucky is a school I'd like to visit and so is Washington. Coach Romar has been to see me several times. I am open to others as well."
Kentucky sets itself apart from the other schools Patrick is considering through geography, if nothing else, but that did not seem to bother Patrick. "That is not a concern at all," Patrick said, "I am very open to Kentucky. Going to school at Dominquez I grew up as a Tayshaun Prince fan so I watched Kentucky a lot. Tayshaun is somewhat of a legend around here and it would be cool to follow in his steps."
So does Patrick fancy himself a Prince-type player?
"No, I see myself much more as a Ray Allen type player," Patrick said, "I am a big two guard."
But can he play other positions as well?
"I feel pretty comfortable wherever the coach asks me to play," Patrick said, "I played some point guard and small forward for Team Danny Williams. Our team doesn't really have a point guard so coach calls on me for that and I am happy to do it."
One knock on Patrick's game had been that he tended to float around the perimeter waiting for a long range shot and that he didn't like to mix it up in the paint, a rumor that Patrick heard – and addressed.
"I wanted to dispel those rumors. I do like to shoot from the outside. I feel like I can help the team from long range, but I like to take it to the basket as well. I did a lot more of that in this tournament to show coaches and fans that I am capable of working it inside."
And he certainly sold his new AAU coach, Rick Issacs, "Patrick has been an absolute gem, a real pleasure to have on the team. He has a heart this big," Issacs said, with arms outstretched. "He follows direction really well and gives it his all – anything you ask for. As a coach it doesn't get any better than that."
Patrick joined Team Danny Williams for the first time during the Las Vegas Reebok Big Time Tournament, and stumbled a little in his first game, a two point loss. But in his next four games Patrick scored 17, 19, 17 and 21 points, scoring from outside and inside.
"That first game was no big deal," Issacs said, "when you have big time players like Davon Jefferson and Tyrone Shelley, a humble kid like Patrick is not going to come in and just take over."
By the third game, however, Issacs was looking to Patrick as one of his go-to players. In a late night game where his team was down by as many as 12 points in the first half, Issacs was frustrated with his team's efforts and benched some of his starters, allowing Christopher to play with Jefferson and some of the reserves.
Pointing at Christopher, Issacs screamed at his starters, "You guys are playing tired. Patrick is the only player giving it everything on both ends of the court."
And Patrick produced. He sparked a Team Danny Williams comeback and was the critical player in their narrow victory, "Without Patrick, we lose tonight," the colorful coach said.
Patrick's dad, Laron, accompanied Patrick to his AAU Tournament in Las Vegas. Although he supports his son, Laron is adamant that Patrick makes his own decisions with regard to his recruitment, "We have a lot of respect for the California staff," the elder Christopher said, "but Patrick made a decision too quickly. He felt he was under pressure and succumbed to that pressure. So when he wanted to reopen his recruitment, the family stood behind him. I think it was the right thing to do."
So does dad have any misgivings about Patrick possibly going to school as far away from home as Kentucky if that were to happen?
"Oh no, not at all," Laron said, "My wife works for United Airlines. The distance does not bother me at all if that is what Patrick wants to do. The decision is his."
Are there any concerns at all?
"You always wonder how long a Tubby Smith might be around," Laron said, "I know the NBA has to be looking at him and wanting him. That might be one concern."
But no sooner did dad finish the sentence, the son addressed the concern, "A school like Kentucky will always have a great coach," Patrick said, "If Tubby Smith left tomorrow, Kentucky is one of those schools that would always get a great coach. You always want to look at a coach and see how that coach develops his players and coach Smith develops his players. But I've always been told to pick a school because of the program. And Kentucky has a real good program."
So last question: where did you get that awesome jumpshot?
"Go ask him," joked Laron, "he still can't beat me on his best day."
"That's not how I remember it," retorted Patrick, "I'll put it to you like this. The last time we played, I was on him so bad, he just quit. And I ain't never looked back."