"I think it's just that he is playing with more confidence. He could do it last year. He did it in practice, but it never transitioned to games for various reasons," said Patterson. "For coach (John) Calipari to put him in position to play and to believe in him has made a big difference and it's now a lot easier for him to do it in games this year.
Liggins didn't play for unspecified reasons early in the season that no one has revealed. Yet Patterson says he never lost faith in Liggins. "I always knew he would be okay. Earlier in the season he was not allowed to play and coach Cal wasn't playing him, but we all knew his time would come. When he stepped on the court, he shined and played well," Patterson said.
Liggins played a season-high 28 minutes Saturday and has played 25 or more minutes in three of the last five games as Calipari has turned to him more and more over Darius Miller, Darnell Dodson and Ramon Harris.
"His confidence has gone up so much compared to last year. DeAndre provides a lot of energy. He takes our team to another level when he comes into the game. For him to come off the bench and do that makes us even better," Patterson said. "He has improved so much. He is able to finish on the offensive end and his defense has improved so much.
"I just think it has to do with his confidence. He could do that last year, but he just never really did it. To be able to come back and recognize his strengths and do that in a game with Coach cheering him on and having more confidence in himself is causing him to play better."
Patterson says Liggins' energy causing turnovers, diving on the floor for loose balls and rebounding has given the Cats a needed lift in recent weeks.
"Whenever he comes in, it takes us to another level. He brings a lot of firepower, a lot of energy. He causes us to play a lot better and takes us to another level that we need," Patterson said.