Cut out of work a little early to take a nap and you miss everything. Patrick Patterson’s decision to return is a huge moment for UK. With his return, UK can genuinely now be seen as a NCAA title contender next season, just one year removed from the NIT. Patterson will act almost as a new part of the recruiting class, since many around the program thought he was likely to leave, even just a couple of weeks ago. Now with his return, the Cats have a lineup that goes 11 deep and the potential to put a starting five on the court that is as good as any in America.
But how did it happen? Every time I have been asked about Patrick’s decision, I have said that it would likely be a business decision. My assumption was that Patterson would look at where he was projected, decide if he could do better next season, and then make a decision. But that is not what happened. Instead, Patrick’s desire to be a part of something special and his love for the Big Blue led to a return. Yesterday evening, a friend who communicates with Patrick told me that they received a text message from Pat in which he said he was likely to return because, “we are going to win a title next year and I dont want to miss that.” Patterson didnt even take the time to go through NBA workouts or get an accurate portrayal of where he would go in the Draft. Instead, he realized what we all not have realized…..next year will be special and he simply does not want to miss i.
Patterson has had a strange trip these last two years. The one consistent has been his love for this program. Recruited by Tubby Smith, he was ready to come to Lexington, only to have the coach removed and a new one put in his place. Still yet, his love for the program endured, and after a great sell job by the new coach, he was a Cat. His freshman season ended in an injury that took him away from the NCAA Tournament. His sophomore season saw a team in turmoil and a last six weeks that we would all like to forget. It was assumed by nearly everyone that he would leave for the NCAA and his career with UK seemed to be over. But then the old coach left, a new one re-energized the program and two years of haze lifted for a new ray of sunshine. Patrick has been with the program through the dark times and has been its one rock that has set the foundation. His love for the program is immense and the good times now await. Just like all the fans who love the program, Patrick sees the reward ahead….and just like us, he does not want to miss it.