Patterson will return for junior season
Posted by ibleedblue040 on May 11, 2009
Kentucky Wildcats sophomore forward Patrick Patterson announced today that he is returning for his junior season after taking his name out of the NBA Draft.
Patterson, a 6’9″ Huntington, West Virginia native, returns following a season that saw him average a team-high 9.3 rebounds per game. Patterson also ranked near the top of Division I with a .603 field goal percentage.
Patterson made his decision late last week and decided to come back because of three reasons. “An opportunity to get a degree next year… It also means a lot for me to come back and get the chance to play for Kentucky… I also like Coach (John) Calipari’s offense and playing for him and (the thought of) him helping me improve and get better.”, said the All-SEC big man.
Many believed Patterson would remain in the draft if he were a guaranteed first-round pick, although he was told by scouts he would have been had he kept his name available. “Anywhere from 14, 15 to 20…in that range but guaranteed first round.”
Patterson returns to a team that has the potential to reach its first Final Four since 1998, or at least its first Elite Eight in five seasons. “Looking at the team we could possibly have next year, with all the people we have coming in…all the weapons we have coming in that helped a lot. With the caliber of the team we could have next year and competing for a national title hopefully.”
John Calipari’s reputation for developing players for the NBA also played an integral role in Patterson’s decision to come back. “It helped a lot. I looked at all the players he sent (to the NBA) back in Memphis, (Chris) Dorsey, (Chris Douglas) Roberts, Derek Rose, just everybody who he’s helped… I know playing for Coach Calipari I will progress.”
With the possibility of Jodie Meeks returning for his senior season, along with prep target John Wall, Patterson’s decision makes Kentucky the legitimate preseason favorite in the Southeastern Conference as well as a front-runner for the top team in the country. “Hopefully (Kentucky can) be a top contender and win a national championship.”