This offseason has been crowded by a lot of talk about a lot of subjects. Topics have ranged from the legacy of Ramel and Joe, to the recruiting of youngsters, to Derrick Jasper’s transfer to the new class of Freshmen. But one topic that is too often forgotten, mainly because of its relative normalcy, is the greatness of Patrick Patterson. Admit it, you take Patrick for granted….even though he has only been at UK for one year. Here is a player so good, so absolutely perfect on the court for the Cats, that fans dont question anything about him or what role he will have on the team. He is the rock-solid leader of the team and the program and is the one uncontroversial part of a program that will generate talk about the smallest minutia or detail. He is Patrick Patterson and he should be appreciated.
Patterson came to Kentucky with possibly the greatest deal of anticipation of any player since Rex Chapman. No player’s recruitment was followed with more day-to-day detail than that of the young man from Huntington. In the days of the internet, there has been no player more coveted by a UK fanbase and no celebration greater than the day he signed on the UK dotted line. Yet somehow, even with all that hype, Patrick not only lived up to it, but surpassed it. Even when the team looked its worst throughout the season, Patrick Patterson was a bright spot that couldnt be denied. He took Player of the Year Tyler Hansborough of North Carolina, and made him look below average, holding the Heel to one of his worst games of the year when the two were matched one-on-one. He scored tons of points even though me met multiple double teams….he got rebounds even though he had a height disadvantage against some opponents….and he threw the perfect pass to help get his teammates an open shot. In every game he had a highlight, and at the end of every performance, some stat line that approached a double-double.
Had Patrick not gotten hurt towards the end of the year, he would have broken the UK Freshman scoring record. And yet, going into this summer, he is the name rarely mentioned in UK circles. Part of that is the nature of recruiting and our tendency to follow stories with unknown outcomes (such as Jasper leaving) over that which is more consistent. But part of it is that we know Patrick will not only be there next season, but his greatness is unquestioned. Unlike various people who need to improve, newcomers who must make an impact or guys who we hope havent reached their peak, Patrick will be great…..and there is no opinion that will be valid to the contrary. His importance is so great and his impact looms so large that UK got Dr. James Andrews, surgeon to the stars, to perform his recent surgery….that boot represents the future of the UK program, and no precaution is too great.
Greatness sometimes can be expected and is overlooked until it is has already passed by. Lets hope that doesnt happen to Patrick Patterson. He has the opportunity to be the best post player at Kentucky since Bowie, all the while representing the University in an impeccable manner on and off the court. Lets keep track of all the news that is going on during the offseason and all the mini-stories that make UK basketball great. But dont forget Patrick in the process. He is the rock of UK basketball and his greatness should continue to be appreciated.