KENNY WALKER: Patterson a special player

I know he's only played six games, but Patrick Patterson is already showing just how good he is. I like his intensity and approach to the game. He works hard every game whether it is against Gardner-Webb or North Carolina. He plays hard every night, and that's a good trait to have early in your career.

He has a high basketball IQ. He understands low post positioning. He is a pretty good passer for a big guy. And he plays both ends of the court. He is not only good on offense, but he blocks shots, he rebounds.

I wish that I could say we would have him around here for four years, but the way he is going, two or three years of development and I think he is on to the next level. He is that good.

His all-around play is better than I really expected. I don't think in high school, or at least not last year, we didn't get a chance to really see what kind of offensive player he can be because O.J. Mayo took so many shots. Patterson had to get most of his points off the offensive glass and running the floor.

What I have seen of him so far, he has a nice turnaround jump shot, he can shoot up to 18 feet, he has a nice hook shot and he has some good low post moves. He has everything you want in a power forward.

He reminds me so much of a player named Horace Grant who played for the Chicago Bulls. He doesn't do a lot of things spectacular, but he does a lot of things very well. I think if Kentucky continues to make him the low post presence — and I think we will because we don't have anybody else to do that — then you are only going to see him get better and more confident because we are going to have to go to him an awful lot.

He has the perfect demeanor for a freshman, too. I think when you are a freshman, you should let your work on the court speak for you. He doesn't have to do a lot of talking. I am very surprised that this early in the year, that he is not mentioned in the same breath with Mayo (of USC) and Michael Beasley (of Kansas State) as one of the nation's best freshmen. He is that good. Maybe with the way he played against North Carolina, we will finally start hearing his name mentioned with some of the top freshmen in the country.

Could he be gone to the NBA in one year? If he gets better as the year goes on, who knows. He has a good body right now. I would like to see him try and put on a little more weight to play at the next level. I always say you have to look at that opportunity after the year is over and look at your body of work for that year. With that being said and talking to his parents, I think he would at least hang around for at least a couple of years. I think he enjoys the college environment and playing college basketball.

But at the same time, if you have an opportunity to be in the first round, you have to look. It could come down to a difference of being in the first round or being a lottery pick. I think with this kid he doesn't want to settle for being in the first round. I think he wants to be a lottery pick.

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