Heels Making Push for Patterson

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. --- There's a reason North Carolina has had two assistant coaches at Patrick Patterson's games at Disney's Wide World of Sports for the AAU Nationals. The 6-8, 234-pound power forward has become one of the hottest big men on the market and he's also becoming a top target of the Tar Heels in the class of 2007.

With Kevin Love now out of the picture, the UNC staff seems to be making a big time push for the No. 15-ranked player in the country. While others have tried to use Carolina's late entrance into his recruitment against the Heels, Patterson said he ignores the negative comments.

"People tell me all the sudden they are jumping in because Kevin Love committed to UCLA and I was their next guy," Patterson said. "But I don't pay attention to it."

While the Tar Heels' recent push has gotten Patterson's attention, they actually did some preliminary research on the West Virginia star earlier in the year. In March, UNC assistant coach Steve Robinson went to Patterson's high school and watched him work out.

According to Patterson and his mother, the Tar Heels are in solid shape due to the fact that he's not ready to make a decision any time soon. His parents want him to think about his options, get down to five schools and make five official visits.

"My thing is he does his five visits and after that if he's comfortable making a decision then I'm fine with that," Tywanna Patterson said Friday afternoon.

With the level that Patterson has been playing at, it's no surprise he's being recruited by the best in college basketball. So who has a shot at him? Wake Forest, Duke, Kentucky, UConn, Pittsburgh, Clemson, Florida and Louisville are all schools that have shown a lot of interest recently.

North Carolina and Louisville are the only two out of the group that haven't offered a scholarship yet. While Wake Forest and Kentucky have been on him the longest, the Pattersons said UNC, UConn and Louisville are the most recent schools to throw their name in the hat. Connecticut, who hasn't been recruiting him long, quickly sent an offer his way, while Rick Pitino, of Louisville, called the family and Patrick.

"We got a call from Coach Pitino right before we left for Peach Jam," Mrs. Patterson said. "It seems like they have come on because he's playing so well."

With so many schools after the Huntington (WVa.) High product the recruiting process is getting quite hectic for the Patterson family. But that doesn't mean they are going to rush into anything. His dad, Buster Patterson, made it clear that they are still "wide open."

Since the spring began, Patterson has been playing at a level that many might not have guessed was possible. His play throughout AAU ball and the camps has established him as a likely McDonald's All-American game.

"I think he's doing really well," Patterson's mom said. "And it's been a great summer with AAU, Nike Camp and NBA Camp"

After sitting out the Super Showcase in Orlando last week, Patterson has dominated the paint throughout pool play here at the AAU Nationals. The majority of his points have come off of offensive rebounds or strong post moves in the paint. But don't forget Patterson can get up and down the floor and in each game we've watched he's been good for at least one open court one-handed slam.

With pool play now over in the AAU Nationals, his Boo Williams squad is undefeated and set to play in the first round of the tournament Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. and it's a safe bet that every coach that has a chance at Patterson will be in attendance. In fact, Roy Williams has now arrived in town and will certainly be in the stands tonight.

Patrick Patterson Profile


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