St. John's Lands Visit From JUCO Guard

Avery Patterson will be taking several visits, including a trip to Queens, New York ...

Avery Patterson had his recruitment pretty well under control until Iowa Western C.C. made a post-season run that culminated in the junior college's recent fourth place finish at the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.

Patterson, a smooth 6-4, 185 pound shooting guard from Kannapolis, N.C., is now trying to sift through the chaos that has ensued.

Once torn between just three schools, Patterson said on Wednesday night that he is giving serious consideration to five colleges.

One of those schools is the University of Kansas, which recently threw its hat into the ring because of the uncertain status of freshman wing Brandon Rush. Rush is contemplating an early leap to the pro ranks, but has not yet finalized his plans.

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self was in Council Bluffs, Ia., on Wednesday, to get another look at Patterson and express his program's interest. Self attended the NJCAA Tournament back on March 23 and took in one of Patterson's games.

"It all depends on what Brandon Rush does," said Patterson. "If he leaves, I could take a visit to Kansas."

While that potential visit is at best uncertain, Patterson has three visits scheduled this month. He will spend this weekend at St. John's (Apr. 6-8), and then piggy back visits to Miami (Apr. 14-16) and Cincinnati (Apr. 16-18) next weekend.

Back in the fall, Patterson took one official visit to Wyoming. Should he follow through with the above trips, that would leave him just one more official visit. He could use it to visit Kansas or some other program that strikes his fancy.

"I should know something within the next 10 days regarding Rush's decision," Patterson said.

Wyoming, St. John's and Miami were the three programs that had shown the most interest in Patterson up until the post-season. Now, Michigan State, Arkansas, Minnesota and Mississippi State have made serious pushes to land Patterson, but he seems most comfortable with the aforementioned five schools.

"Wyoming has been following me since high school, and I really thought about signing there early," Patterson said. "They still have a shot because they've been there since the beginning."

Even though the St. John's program is in a rebuilding stage, Patterson is intrigued by the prospect of playing in the rugged Big East Conference.

"It would be an opportunity for me to play against high level kids," he said. "Syracuse and UConn are big time schools."

Miami may offer the lure of instant playing time with the departures of senior Robert Hite and junior Guillermo Diaz (declared for NBA Draft).

"Going to an ACC school would give me the chance to play against all of the schools in North Carolina that didn't recruit me," Patterson said.

New Cincinnati Head Coach Mick Cronin was recruiting Patterson this year while he was the head coach at Murray State. Once he got the Bearcats' head coaching position, he simply transferred his recruitment of Patterson to his new school.

"Once he got the Cincinnati job," Patterson said, "it made me interested in them."

Patterson averaged 20.4 points per game for the Reivers in 2005-2006, earning first team All-Region 11 honors in Iowa. He continued his fine play at Hutch, averaging 21.2 points per game as Iowa Western grabbed fourth place.

Not surprisingly, he was named to the all-tournament team in Hutchinson.

Probably the best thing about Patterson is his efficiency and economy of motion. He has a very smooth and effortless three-point stroke, and he understands how to move without the basketball and rub off screens to get open.

Patterson takes most of his shots within the flow of the offense, and he doesn't need an ungodly number of attempts to get his points. One thing he must continue to improve is his decision making and passing from the wing. He tends to get careless with the ball when he's not in a scoring position.

"I let the game come to me," Patterson explained. "I take shots when we need them, and I am not afraid to take a big shot late in the game."

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