"Getting better is not always only on numbers. You can judge by numbers if he is doing certain things, but that's not always an accurate case," Cyprien said. "He has gotten better across the board. Offensively he is facing the basket and hitting jump shots better. He is more confident on the block. Defensively ,he is better because he understands the schemes we want to work. His leadership and the way he can carry the team been tremendous. I am still impressed by everything about Patrick Patterson."
Cyprien does worry that Patterson's hand injury has bothered him more than he will admit, especially after he played part of last season with a stress fracture in his ankle before the problem was detected. "He wants to play and won't say much about it. It's one of those injuries that is just on a day to day basis. He has to play and play through it. But he is not able to do some things he wants to do with the basketball because his hands are so important in terms of gripping the ball and making plays. I would say we are a little concerned about it," Cyprien said. "Our trainers have done a good job giving him splint to wear when he is not in games or practice. He just needs a lot of rest and ice. It is just a nagging deal that probably is not going to heal until the season is over."
However, even if the injury has impacted his play, it has not changed Patterson's attitude from what Cyprien sees daily.
"It is very rare to have a player that good not worry at all about scoring. The biggest example was after Tennessee. He was as happy for Jodie as anybody in the locker room. He knew Jodie had it going. He continued get Jodie shots and got him open," Cyprien said. "That is a rarity today. Most guys that are leaders, and scoring leaders, think they should shoot and score. He will defer because he knows the more guys he can let score around him, the better off we will be. That is rare.
"There is thing in our profession where we want to get on a player all the time about playing hard on both ends. Some guys play hard on one end and not on the other. Some tend to be better defensively when they are scoring. You don't have that worry with Pat. He plays defense whether he's scoring 20 points or no points. That's what makes him so rare."