VAUGHT: Contemplating Patterson's future

Billy Gillispie knew when he recruited Patrick Patterson that he would eventually be a NBA player. But even the Kentucky coach wasn't ready for how well Patterson played last year.

"I don't think he was considered a guy that could score like could by anybody," Gillispie said. "I knew he would be a NBA player and I wanted to try and help him get there as quickly as possible.

"I knew he would eventually be a good low-post scorer, but I didn't think he would score that many points last year and have the unbelievable season he did last year. He far surpassed anything even I thought he could do."

Now almost everyone is speculating about whether Patterson will be back for a junior season. Kentucky fans cling to the hope that he likes the college atmosphere, will want to broaden his game even more and won't rush to the NBA. Others figure that Patterson won't be able to risk injury and losing millions of dollars by staying college.

"I want him to stay here forever," Gillispie admitted. "But I also want him to play well. We are going to try and help Pat all we can. Pat is also going to try and help us all he can.

"I don't want him to leave, but I do want him to play well. He's had a fantastic time here at Kentucky. He's probably the most popular player in the state. Fans adore him. But I still want him to do as well as he can and if that means we lose him to the NBA, then all we will be able to do is wish him well for what he did for Kentucky."

So what does Patterson tell potential recruits when they ask him about his future at Kentucky?

"I don't promise anything. I tell them if I am here, I would love to play with them. If I am not here, you will be part of a great program. I know players want to play with me, but they also want what is best for me and my family. But the guys we are recruiting now will be great players no matter what because they all are so talented."

AllWildcats Top Stories