Is Patterson better than Walker?

Is Patrick Patterson going to be a better player than Kenny Walker? That's a question I have been asked often.

I can already say that the younger version of Patrick Patterson is a better player than I was. I think by the time I ended my freshman year I had got in the rotation and getting minutes of a starter, but it took all season to get to that point. He's been able to do it from day one because he had unique opportunity to start right away that was good for his game and his confidence. He got his role set early.

But there are still not too many guys that come in with the maturity he had mentally and physically. He has the body. He has the mental game to play. It is not all about scoring. He works hard. He is a very coachable guy.

If he keeps doing what he is right now and stays around here the next couple of years, he will be knocking on that door that only Jack Givens, Dan Issel and myself are in right now. If he stays four years, he is going to do better than all of us.

I am all about whatever is best for the kid. His family is a good family. I have talked to his mom and dad and I know they are grounded. They are a good support group. Whether he is ready to go after freshman or sophomore year, they will make that decision. But he is a very gifted basketball player early in his career.

I really enjoy watching him play because of his old-school mentality. His approach is all about going out and playing hard whether Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, North Carolina or whoever. He plays hard each night. That's the sign of a very good player. He knows and he understands how to play the game. He can score in a variety of ways. He can rebound. He can block shots. There are literally no weaknesses in his game at this point.

If there is anything you want to see him do more of, it would be when teams front him and we throw over the top and he gets 65 to 70 percent of his points by sealing the guy and getting layups and dunks. If anything, you want to make him catch the ball on the box and show a face up game. But he has shown a pretty good jump shot and a very good jump hook. At the next level, he will have to do more of those things because he won't be able to get that great position at the next level.

Give him another 10 to 15 pounds of muscle, and that could very well come with the way he works this summer, and there's not much left to do with Patrick Patterson but wish him the best of luck at the next level.

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