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Patterson always sacrificed for the team

By LARRY VAUGHT

For the player who sacrificed so much for Kentucky during his basketball career, maybe it had to be expected that other teammates would reap more honors and recognition than him for Kentucky’s wonderful 35-3 season.

Yet I would wager today that there’s not one jealous bone in Patrick Patterson’s body and that he was among the first to congratulate freshmen teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins for being named first team All-America by the Associated Press on Monday.

While Patterson didn’t lead UK in scoring, assists or steals as Wall did or in blocked shots and rebounds as Cousins did, he led the team in leadership.

Don’t believe me. Let Wall and Cousins explain.

“Patrick helped us a lot when we first got here in the summer. He could have put us under the bus, but he put us under his wing and showed us all we needed to get better,” said wall. “He said there would not be an easy games, especially in the SEC. He told us what to expect and how to handle things. He was always there.”

Why?

“That was just Patrick being a leader. He knew that was about more than just about him and the freshmen coming We had to be a team and Patrick did a great job making us come together. He stepped back, sacrificed some of his numbers and let us do our thing.”

What about it, Cousins?

“He is the man on the team. When we need something big, we look to him. He never gets overlooked by us. Maybe the media, but not us. We know how important he is and look for him every night. He helped keep us out of trouble off the floor. He was also there looking out for us and there’s nobody that competes like him. He hates losing,” Cousins said.

Patterson’s numbers were still impressive. He averaged 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He had 51 blocked shots and 27 steals. He shot 57.5 percent from the field and went 24-for-69 from 3-point range to show his improved shooting range.

And he was tough.

“I can play through sickness. If someone is coughing, I am not as worried about that as someone stepping on my ankle or something or running and slipping. But when you are having a season like we are, you don’t let sickness or pain keep you from playing. You endure it and play,” Patterson said before the NCAA Tournament.

He came back to UK for his junior season rather than going to the NBA to graduate and win a NCAA title.

Before the tournament, I asked him if he would be bitterly disappointed if UK didn’t at least reach the Final Four — a goal the Cats missed when they fell to West Virginia last week.

“We will all feel that way. If we lose before the Final Four, this year is not the year we wanted and will not turn out the way we all planned,” Patterson said.

Notice the word “we” in both sentences. Everything about him was team oriented.

“Our record is good with a lot of things individually, but the main focus and goal is to get to that national championship. If we don’t get there, we won’t look at it as a down year, but it is as not as successful as it should have been,” Patterson said then.

Yet Patterson insisted that lofty goal or returning to UK did not place extra pressure on him.

“It’s not as much pressure, but more motivation,” he said.

He became a fan favorite as much for how he treated others as for his inspirational play under Billy Gillispie when he never complained about the lack of talent around him. He signed autographs. He visited those in need in the hospital.

Recently he was out eating with teammates when approached about saying happy birthday to a girl celebrating her 16th birthday. He did and the Cats even autographed a basketball and sang to her. It became a national story — one that would have been even bigger if UK had made the Final Four.

And he never had any regrets about being at UK or not being the team star this year.

“It wasn’t hard for me to come back. Last year I had to be focal point since I was the main force down low. This year I understand we have so many weapons. DeMarcus can dominate down low, John and Eric (Bledsoe) from the perimeter, Daniel (Orton) can do it. I am all about my teammates,” Patterson said.

What better legacy than “all about my teammates” could any player have.

That’s why even if Patterson was only honorable mention on the AP All-America team, he was first team with me, his teammates and the UK fans.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/patterson-always-sacrificed-for-the-team/

15 comments

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  1. Hugh Ward

    Another excellent story. I have always been impressed by Patrick’s leadership. When I was in officer training at Ft. Belvoir, one of the instructors made a statement that is probably obvious, but is very applicable. He said “You can name anyone a manager, but you can’t name a leader. A leader may be developed, but you can’t specify someone for that job.” Patrick was not named the leader, but he had those qualities that define a leader. John directed the team play, and was wonderful in that role. Patrick was the team leader, and that was known and respected by the other players The qualities he has and showed will serve him well during and after his professional basketball career. Patrick, I salute you for your outstanding contributions to this team, and the UK program. In the future, when “team leadership” is the topic, you will be prime example.

  2. Karen Sprinkle

    Amen, Hugh. I only wish the rest of the country recognized what an excellent role model and talented team player Patrick is. He’ll always have the respect and admiration of the Big Blue Nation, and we look forward to the day when they retire his jersey. They should rename the Chuck Hayes Wildcat award the Hayes-Patterson Wildcat Award, in my opinion.

    Patrick, may the road always rise to meet you, and may the wind always be at your back.

  3. gmoyers

    great lines folks

  4. LindaS

    Now Larry, I was doing really good and feeling upbeat and you go and write something about Patrick and now I’m crying. You just made realize again how much I am going to miss him. Every young man on the team is special for different reasons. However, Patrick is every woman’s son or grandson in my case. If there was some way to keep him another year I am for it, but I know that will not happen. What a special young man with special parents. He thinks of the team and others, not of just himself. Again, Mr. & Mrs Patterson, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing Patrick with us for 3 years. You will have him for the rest of your lives and only wish we could have him a little longer. Thank you again for raising such a remarkable human being.

  5. Patrick Williams

    A guy with the character AND skill of a Patrick Patterson doesn’t come along very often. We need more people to be “others first” people in this world and hopefully he can have an impact in causing others to look outside themselves. I’ve enjoyed watching him play the last 3 years at UK and he’s doing the name “Patrick” proud!

  6. Tywanna Patterson

    I wished we had reached the Final Four. Reading this makes me just want to cry. I know we had a great season compared to the past 2 years, so that is great. I am glad that Patrick and the team will always be remembered! Thanks Larry!

  7. King Ghidora

    This team reminds me a lot of the Unforgettables. They brought the team back from the abyss just like those guys who have their numbers in the rafters at Rupp. And Patrick Patterson is maybe the most Unforgettable of them all. He sacrificed a lot to come back and make this team what it became. I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget his poise and his character either. Few can rival PP in those regards.

    Thanks for being a Wildcat Mr. Patterson. You will have our eternal respect and gratitude. You are a great talent and more. You’re a great human being in my book. Thanks for being part of the Big Blue Nation.

  8. Tony

    That’s what I’m talking about. Memories and stories are more valued and respected than stats and records. Players w/o a face and personality would only give us a temporary pleasure. I would remember PP forever for his personality and humility. His basketball performance and talent (lottery pick) is undisputable, but his character and personality is invaluable and precious. Ten years from now that’s what I will remember and not his 14, 15, 16, 17 ppg or 7, 8, 9, 10 rpg. PPs qualities would not show up on a stat sheet but at the end of the day we will remember him for the man he is complemented by the player he became and not the other way around. All great leaders throughtout history have one thing in common…”Sacrifice for others for the common good”. PP reinforced it and the team recognized it. That’s the reason this team will stand out forever. Yes, they are all amazing players but I’m more impressed with their characters and personalities. There are a lot of great players out there but it takes a whole lot more to have a great team and PP knows that. Any NBA team will be fortunate to have him. Good luck to all of them and coach has the unique ability to recognize and develop not only talent but character and personality. They will be missed but PP has been special in so many ways.

  9. gmoyers

    Don’t worry Linda. I cried when I wrote. Some players — as all of you noted — are just special. Pat is one of them, and his family just makes him extra special. May never be another family quite like them wearing the blue in my lifetime

  10. Judi Cole

    Ditto to everything that has been said about our great Patrick in these posts. Larry, you’ve brought us wonderful stories about the players and their families this season – thank you, we’ll miss you too (but you’ll be back!).

  11. Bob Day

    I’m with Judi. Ditto to what everyone said. It was a great, memorable year and Patrick will be missed, but never forgotten.

  12. Tana

    Well, add me to the list of folks whose tears are flowing again. Like Linda said, the Pattersons will have Patrick the rest of their lives, but we fans are likely having to say “goodbye” to him, and how that hurts.

    Too, as Linda perfectly said, thank you, still again, Mr. and Mrs. Patterson, for having raised “such an outstanding human being.” It’s not really Patrick the outstanding basketball player who’s so hard to “let go,” but, instead, Patrick the fine young man. There’s no player I have respected and admired more. Larry said it — how Patrick “treats others,” and, certainly how he led and treated his teammates, sacrificing his own stats for the TEAM. Patrick’s leadership, particularly off the floor (as I noticed DeMarcus mentioned how Patrick would keep players out of trouble off the court) was an absolutely huge part of this team’s success this season. Patrick was truly the Heart and Soul of this special basketball team, and, again, much credit goes to you, Tywanna and Buster Patterson.

    Also, King, this team has reminded me, too, of the Unforgettables. For me, too, Patrick is the most Unforgettable of all. I have never admired or respected a Kentucky basketball player more. It’s for Patrick that my heart hurts the most in regard to our team’s not making it to the Final Four (and, believe me, I so hurt for all the others, too, particularly senior Ramon Harris).

    Again, thanks so much for sharing your very special son with us for three years, Tywanna and Buster Patterson (and I will continue to watch and pull for him in the NBA, of course!). May God bless all of you.

  13. Bob Day

    Ditto to what Tana said too! I’m just dittoin’ today. :-)

  14. gmoyers

    Bob, ditto to those remarks just shows you are a smart man

  15. Tywanna Patterson

    Many thanks and much appreciation to you all for your kindness, support and words of encouragement and praise of Patrick and the team! Go Big Blue Nation and Go CATS Forever!

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