Over the course of the next month until the NBA draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Patrick Patterson
NBA Position: Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Late Lottery
Overview: John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins may have been flashier and grabbed more headlines, but if you ask people around Lexington who their favorite Wildcat was from this past season, Patrick Patterson’s name will come up more than you’d expect. While his numbers were impressive enough (14.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.9 BPG), that’s not what Kentucky supporters use as the reason for their reverence — and reverence is the right word, there. They’re quick to point out that those numbers were actually down from the previous season (17.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.1 BPG), and the reason they were down was because he was fine with scoring less and yielding the spotlight to his aforementioned young teammates, as that’s what the team dynamic required. They love talking about how he finished his bachelor’s degree in three years, while at the same time going far above the call of duty when it came to community service and public appearances during his time in the Bluegrass. In short, people in Lexington love this guy, and why shouldn’t they? He played three seasons that can be credited to three different head coaches; he was recruited by Tubby Smith, played two years for Billy Gillespie and a final one under John Calipari. Basketball wasn’t fun at UK for those first two years for the players or the fans, and especially not for Patterson, who didn’t even get to play in an NCAA Tournament. You couldn’t blame Patrick if he had sulked in his dorm room for a while and then caught the first bus out of town. Instead, he flourished — in the classroom, on the court, and in the community, knowing if he kept working hard that sweeter days would eventually come. Those sweeter days arrived last season. And the next one is Thursday night in New York.
Will Translate to the NBA: Patterson’s physique got more impressive each year at Kentucky, the biggest and quickest transformation coming last summer when he moved out to California and worked with a personal trainer. His body is therefore NBA-ready, and it also speaks to his work ethic. He’s also shown that he’s willing to eschew personal glory in favor of the betterment of the team, and there might not be a better “character guy” in the draft. He added a jump shot over the summer before last season, then hit it consistently during the year, a move that greatly increased his appeal to NBA scouts, and it goes nicely with the fair range of post moves he already possesses. Whether it’s him who scores or not, good things tend to happen when he gets the ball in the post; he’s a nice interior passer and easily finds the open man on the perimeter. He was an underrated defender down low at Kentucky and seems to love going body-to-body with opponents who are trying to overpower him.