Patterson has seen more than of Pilgrim to know he's going to be fine this year as he adjusts to Kentucky basketball.
"We wish we could have him out there playing with us. He has to sit out, but that is not affecting him. He is in the gym every single day trying to get better, and that's only going to make us better," Patterson said. "He is definitely a likable guy. He loves to go out to movies, restaurants or just hang out. We love him and is like all of us."
Pilgrim describes himself as a "tough, physical payer who needs to work on learning to score in more different ways" to go along with his reliable jump shot. Pilgrim knows his role at practice will be to make teammates tougher and more physical.
"The coaches have told me to try and be a leader all year, so I am going to try and push whoever I am working out with," Pilgrim said." My job is to push Pat. I am a big body. I am not as big as him, but I can hit Pat a lot and knock him around to get him better. I have to get A.J. (Stewart) better, Jared (Carter) better, Perry (Stevenson) better. Perry is strong, he's just real skinny."
Patterson, easily UK's most physical player last year and one of the Southeastern Conference's most physical players, says not to doubt Pilgrim's toughness.
"Matt Pilgrim is a manchild. He's a beast. By him practicing and working out with us every day, it is only going to make us better. When he can step on the court, he will be a huge help to Kentucky," Patterson said. "He is real tough. It is like we are playing football out there. It's like basketball with pads. He's a big man and able to use his body to his advantage. He can use his wide shoulders and post up low. He has a tremendous leaping ability and can jump in the air high and quick. He's tough on us in practice and that will make us all better."