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By HAL MORRIS
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ Patrick Patterson said his first month as a professional basketball player has been Ã¢â‚¬Å“pretty much a roller coaster rideÃ¢â‚¬Â to this point.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just flying from point A to point B. Playing basketball in the summer league. It was a lot of fun in (Las) Vegas, trying to settle down in Houston and pretty much just getting situated before we have to return for preseason workouts,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said Saturday at the John Calipari ProCamp here at Memorial Coliseum.
The former UK star was drafted 14th overall by the Houston Rockets inÃ‚Â June. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s learned players are responsible for making themselves work.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The thing about college, you had people asking constantly if you want to get your work in. Some people, they put forth the effort before you do,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the NBA level, you have to go to them. They expect you to put the work in. The next level is about being your own man. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely a business like everyone says, and you have to have that drive and determination to be the best you can be and do the right thing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said he tries to talk to former UK star, and Houston teammate, Chuck Hayes every day.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve talked about whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ahead in the future as far as workouts, practices, preseason and during the season what to expect. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always there for me. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll definitely ask him as the season progresses,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said.
He also got a chance to meet injured Houston center Yao Ming.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That was someone I was eager to meet when. When I met him the first thing in my mind was, Ã¢â‚¬ËœHow can he be this tall?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I always say he was genetically made. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way he can be this tall.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been around some tall people, and people like DeMarcus (Cousins) and 7-foot people, they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make me feel short. But he makes me feel like a little kid.Ã¢â‚¬Â
All the advice heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gotten from friends and NBA players has prevented Patterson from being too surprised by the NBA.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Talking to all the people already in NBA and talking to (former UK teammate) Jodie (Meeks) all the time and everything he went through and learned helped me know what to expect ahead of time,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just have to get used to the level of play. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely more physical and more expectations and also more plays.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve still got the dribble-drive offense in my head, and I am learning defensive schemes and rotations and what coaches expect. I just tried to soak as much information as I can in order to better myself.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also trying to ease into the life in Houston. Patterson said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s moving into this three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse near the arena this week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love Houston. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big city, a lot of stuff to do, great people, friendly people willing to help you out,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just trying get used to the streets, everything thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s around it. Meet the fans. I just want to get out and get my face out there and show the people IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m here and do everything necessary for the city.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not splurged on anything big for himself yet, but his father, Buster, is getting an RV.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still picking out an RV form the catalog. I think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got one in mind, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m grateful thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the only thing they want is an RV so they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be digging in my pockets,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also had a chance to play with the incoming UK players, and has been impressed with freshman center Enes Kanter.
Ã¢â‚¬ÂHeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right up there with DeMarcus. I definitely expect him to put numbers up like DeMarcus did,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a big, talented man, and he can pass ball extremely well. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s aÃ‚Â great rebounder. What I was surprised most with was his footwork around the basket, his post-up moves. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even working on his jump shot around the perimeter.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Getting a chance to come back to UK before resuming his pro basketball duties was special for Patterson.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I was deciding, I really didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to leave. This is like home to me except for Huntington (W.Va.),Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just how the fans give me that warm comfortable feeling and how the fans made me feel at home.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always been anxious to get back to Lexington, get around to see everybody and show them the same love they showed me. Just coming back here makes you feel like you never left. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always a second home where you can come back and visit and still feel welcome.Ã¢â‚¬Â