Well time to begin our coverage of the Nike camp with a bit of actual reporting about the biggest name on the UK horizon, Patrick Patterson. For those of you who dont know about the kid, start learning as he may be the biggest Kentucky recruit since Keith Bogans. Patterson is from Hunington, West Virginia, best known for being the “West Virginia city closest to Ashland, Kentucky and the bizarre fires that shoot directly into the air off the interstate.” Patterson is a 6’8″ power forward with a chiseled frame and a developing set of post moves that have continued to get better by the year.
As an initial matter, Patrick was without a doubt in my eye, the BEST player in the camp. From my perspective he is much farther along than Anthony Randolph (who is power forward from Texas that Kentucky is still pursuing) and has slightly more offensive skill than Gary Johnson(who committed to Texas over UK a couple of weeks ago). And I absolutely LOVE his work ethic. He is a great kid and he works hard on and off the court. His offensive game continues to improve and showcases an array of post moves and an uncanny ability to hit the ten foot jumper off the glass. His focus however is not on these individual talents, but on team success…even at an all-star camp. When I asked him what he most remembered from the camp he said, “my team is losing too much.” Lets just say that no one else said that.
No onto his recruitment. It has long been expected that Kentucky was the leader on his recruitment, which is why his response to my question about Duke was difficult to hear. He said, “Its hard to say no to Duke.” I knew that quote would stir up the passions in Kentucky, so I asked him if he could say no to Duke and he was quick to say yes, saying “anyone can say no and if I need to, I certainly will.” Officially, he said that Kentucky and Wake were the favorites and that if (when) Duke offers, they will be right there. Unofficially, I think the kid is Kentucky’s to lose with one exception….Duke will be tough to beat. He gets a sparkle in his eye when talking about the Blue Devils, and that did worry the UK fan in me.
I spent a lot of time with Pat’s mother. An absolutely wonderful person, she is blown away by all this attention. In talking with her, it was clear that she favors Kentucky and Tubby (and Donna as well). She said it would be great to be close, but she was quick to mention that she would transfer jobs if her son went far away.
Now to the final thing. Both his mother and father (a military man) asked me “why do they give Tubby such a hard time?” They said that in the Ashland area, lots of people were critical of Tubby and “that really upsets us, because he has been so wonderful to our son.” His father said his two favorite teams have always been Kentucky and Duke and that he has discovered that Tubby is “his kind of man.”
All in all, I got very positive vibes on this kid. If we can get him, he will be the best forward talent we have had in a very, very long time….and it will be a solid citizen who will be great for the university. However the staff MUST stay on him. Coach K, Donovan, Calhoun, Izzo, etc were fixed at his games. Tubby was there for a couple and Reggie was there for every game, all three days. It will be a war to get him from Duke….but unlike with Brandon Wright last year, I think this is a winnable battle.