Vols Pursue Power Forward

Bruce Pearl coached Tennessee to some impressive come-from-behind victories last season, but he'll need to overcome a recruiting deficit if the Vols are to land premiere power forward Patrick Patterson.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound, Huntington, W.Va., prospect recently revealed that Florida, Kentucky and Wake Forest are his current favorites, while the Vols fall into a second pack with Virginia and West Virginia. Virginia Tech is still in contention but trails the field.

A four-star prospect rated No. 15 at his position by Scout.com, Patterson is the type of player who could tip the balance of power in the SEC East. In turn, that would have national implications seeing that both the NCAA and NIT champions compete in the division, while half the teams in the East qualified for the NCAA's field of 65.

"Right now all the schools are even," Patterson told Scout.com national recruiting analyst Jeff Goodman. "I plan to take five official visits in August and September and I'm definitely going to go to Wake Forest, Kentucky and Florida."

Obviously that gives the Gators, Cats and the Demon Deacons an advantage, but it doesn't mean UT is out of the running. Patterson visited the Tennessee campus last fall and was in Nashville last weekend competing with the Boo Williams traveling squad in AAU play. Now the Vols would like to get him back for an official visit and there's reason to believe they will.

"I've been to Tennessee before," he told Inside Tennessee. "I was on UT's campus back in football season. They've got a good program and they are coming off a good season. I know Bruce Pearl is a good coach. I like Tennessee. I think I could fit into their system at power forward. I like the transition game they play."

Patterson's ability to bang the boards with abandon and block shots around the basket would make him a fit for Tennessee's up-tempo style. He averaged 16 points and 13 rebounds a game as a junior for Huntington High School.

"I was pleased with my junior year," he said. "I want to improve my jump shot, my post moves and my ball handling over the summer."

He's also looking to improve his post up game.

"I can play with my back to the basket," he said, "but I play better facing the basket. I see myself as a power forward in college. Some schools are recruiting me as a center."

Patrick Patterson looked the part of a power forward at the aforementioned Nike Memorial Day Classic, and got the following evaluation from Scout.com basketball recruiting editor Evan Daniels.

"His play on day two was much of the same as day one. He stands 6-8 and goes hard when he wants too. Every now and then he'll take a possession off, but when he wants to get a rebound there aren't too many players that can stop him from getting it. Most of his points against the Portland Legends came by running the fast break on Sunday. He got at least three dunks on the break and also hit a nice jump hook in the paint. It would be surprising if Boo Williams doesn't make it to the championship game. They have been ripping through the competition."

Patterson plans to major in some type of computer business program in college, and is enjoying the recruiting process.

"Recruiting is okay," he said. "It's not bothering me at all. I like Coach Pearl. He's recruiting me for Tennessee, him and Jason Shay are recruiting me."

Since he is making his official visits this summer and early in the fall, one would think Patterson plans to sign in November, but he indicates that remains open.

There's still plenty of time for a Tennessee recruiting rally.


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