After yesterday’s press conference, there was only one news story that really stuck out in my head from the whole affair. When asked by a reporter if he would have returned had Billy Gillispie been the coach, Patrick said:
“I can’t really answer that question. I don’t know. There was a coaching change, and I am coming back. But I can’t answer the question because I didn’t face that question.”
That answer spoke volumes to me, and I was obviously not the only one. Today, Mark Story wrote a great column about the same thing. With quotes from Pat’s mother and father, Story recognizes that the likely truth is very simple….had a coaching change not occurred, Patrick Patterson would not be back. The same can also be said about Jodie Meeks, as seen by the comments from Orestes Meeks right after the coaching switch. Both young men felt beat down from a year that went beyond bad and it was the infusion of new blood that helped keep them in Blue and White.
As I said on the live blog last night, there is no reason to kick Billy Clyde while he is down and no longer the coach. However there were many hints throughout the season that a problem was occurring. Individuals as wide ranging at Jerry Tipton to Larry Vaught to Bobby Perry to KSR were talking about the problems and the potential for a major exodus at the end of the season. Often the reactions to such comments were personal attacks and it led most to shut their mouth and tell less and less. I expect there to be little to no problems in the player relations standpoint going forward as all the players that play for Calipari seem to love him. But it bears remembering in the coming years what the reaction was to negative news this past season and how it can be handled in the future. The same people who say, “why werent we told what was going on” are often also some of the same people who were blasting what was told. If people want the real story of what is happening, that should be altered.
As for Patrick, he is just another gift from Calipari to the UK fanbase. Excitement over what he brings to the table and the potential for a championship run have brought back a player who will finish his career one of the most beloved to ever wear the Blue and White. Even if he were to do little else (and he obviously will do much more), that is a great gift by Calipari to both Patterson and the UK fans. It only gets better.