VAUGHT: Patterson believes in Stevenson

If Patrick Patterson has a better year than he did as a freshman, he will have to be Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and perhaps the national player of the year. Yet if you listen to Patterson, Kentucky's season could hinge on how well junior forward Perry Stevenson plays and whether he can continue the stellar play he had the last five games last year when Patterson was hurt.



"It will be a huge factor to see what he can do all season long. We saw a little bit of him at the end of last year when he showed out against Florida and Tennessee and in the SEC and NCAA," Patterson said. "Just having Perry and knowing what he is capable of is just a huge factor for us. I believe he can help us a lot this year by playing like that and we know he can rebound and block shots, and he's been scoring a lot in practice. He's just trying to get his weight up. He is putting on more muscle and I think people will be surprised when they see him this year."

Patterson is naturally aggressive. Stevenson is not so inclined. However, Patterson thinks he will be fine there, too, without any extra encouragement or push from him.

"I don't think he needs that. If he wants to do it, he can do it. That is what it is all about. If you want something, you have to go get it and do it. We all believe he can do it. It is just a matter of him wanting to do it," Patterson said.

What about if Stevenson plays so well he takes rebounds, and maybe even points, away from Patterson?

"I would love to just jump up for a rebound and all of a sudden see two other big hands above mine grab the rebound or just seeing Perry playing lockup defense. We all know he can do that because he's done it in practice and pickup games," Patterson said. "He's been a lot more strong with the basketball driving to the basket and shooting around the perimeter, too."

But couldn't Stevenson learn from Patterson's warrior mentality?

"I feel that we all can learn from each other whether it is a warrior mentality or something else on and off the court. We can get a specific part from everybody. When we come on the court we all need the warrior mentality and just have to go play. But I think Perry is going to surprise a lot of people this year."

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