While Donovan may owe a small debt of gratitude to the city where he got his first college head coaching gig, the trip gave him a chance to mingle with one of Florida's top 2007 recruiting priorities, 6-8 power forward Patrick Patterson of Huntington H.S.
"Billy Donovan was the guest speaker at our banquet," Patterson said on Wednesday night.
A no nonsense, ruggedly built four man, Patterson said that Florida, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Marshall have each tendered scholarship offers. Georgetown and Southern California are two new schools trying to gain strong footing on Patterson's list.
On Tuesday, Kentucky Head Coach Tubby Smith was in Huntington, while Marshall visited the high school on Wednesday.
"I would say that I look at all of the schools the same," Patterson said. "The ones that are recruiting me the hardest are Florida, Wake Forest and Virginia."
Patterson visited Wake Forest unofficially as a sophomore, and took in a number of college games this past season as a junior. He watched Kentucky host Arkansas, Virginia host Maryland, Virginia Tech host Virginia and West Virginia host Cincinnati.
Patterson was one of the key inside cogs who helped the Boo Williams squad capture the title of its tournament earlier this month in Hampton, Va. Even though he didn't get a lot of post touches, he gobbled up rebounds and occupied the opponent's top low post scoring threat on the defensive end.
Last weekend, Boo Williams traveled to the Kingwood Classic, and this weekend, the squad will travel to the Next Level National Tournament in Dallas, Tex.
Tom Konchalski of the HSBI Report has evaluated Patterson several times, most recently at the Boo Williams Invitational.
"He has muscles in places that most people don't even have places," Konchalski quipped. "He is really cut, really strong and really physical, and while I didn't see much range to his game, he's a big-time athlete with a stud body who rebounds, has good hands and can score around the basket."
With a 19 on the ACT, Patterson is already fully qualified. If he continues his strong play this spring and summer, it's conceivable that more high level programs will pursue him doggedly.
And that's just fine with him.
"It's been easy to handle so far, because most of the schools text me," Patterson explained. "Plus, I like all of the attention."