VAUGHT: Patterson happy at UK

When Patrick Patterson looks at the NBA rosters this season, he's going to see familiar faces. It could be his former high school teammate, O.J. Mayo, who left Southern California after one season to play in the NBA. Or Michael Beasley, who played in the same all-star games as Patterson and left Kansas State for the riches of the NBA.

Or maybe it's Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose, who left Indiana and Memphis after one season because they were first-round picks.

"I am happy for everybody and proud of all of them," said Patterson. "For those guys I know who left school early to play in the NBA, I am glad they are successful and are all doing what they want. But I am glad I am still here at Kentucky. You won't ever catch me thinking I should have gone (pro) or what might happen if I get hurt."

Even though a season-ending stress fracture in his ankle made him miss five games last year, Patterson's numbers were NBA-worthy. He averaged 16.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 35.7 minutes per game. He shot 57.4 percent from the field and 73.1 percent at the foul line. He had 43 assists, 31 blocked shots and 21 steals. In 25 games, he fouled out only four times.

Yet no one in Patterson's family was anxious for him leaving Kentucky for life in the NBA.

"My husband is ex-military and Patrick has been taught if he starts something, you try your best to finish it," his mother, Twyanna, said. "He was taught discipline and not to quit. He was taught to do things the right way and respect other people. You earn respect that way. Respect is not given. You earn it by doing the right things."

But it's not only his parents' affection for the Kentucky program and his upbringing that have made Patterson so fond of Kentucky.

"I just like the love and support here whether it be from fans or students. The support you get at games is unbelievable," Patterson said. "So many people in the community and the fans just come together to back you. It's just a family-type base with the players, staff and everybody connected with the team and the fans.

"Plus, this is supposed to be the best time of your life. I want to go out, have fun, enjoy partying. Then the games are so much fun. Night in, night out there is just nothing like the college atmosphere."

Does that include the academic workload?

"I'll have to be honest, I don't enjoy school as much as I probably should. Not many people like going to class. It's something you have to do. I take it one day at a time and just try to take care of business like I would on the basketball court," Patterson said.

"I have classes and professors I enjoy and like to be around. I am in most classes with teammates, which makes it better for me. All the classes in college are hard. They are all tough to pass. You have to study hard every day, but you have to understand that is also part of the college life."

AllWildcats Top Stories