Patterson Picks Kentucky

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The last of the nation's top high school recruits made it official Wednesday afternoon as Patrick Patterson announced he would play his college ball at Kentucky.

Patterson made his choice known by slipping on a UK hat during a live news conference at Huntington High School. The 6'8" power forward averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game in leading his school to a state championship.

AP STORY: Kentucky scores: Patterson picks Wildcats to be closer to home
By APRIL VITELLO
Associated Press Writer

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - Huntington High School's Patrick Patterson will take his ball-playing skills to the University of Kentucky.

The 6-foot-8 power forward, one of the last highly touted prospects in the Division I basketball program, announced his decision Wednesday, the last day of the signing period.

Five other Division I teams courted Patterson: Duke, Florida, Virginia, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

Last week he narrowed his choices to Duke, Florida and Kentucky, then to Florida and Kentucky.

Patterson said it came down to matter of distance. He chose Kentucky because he wanted to be close to his family.

"Proximity was the X factor. It was the deciding factor. I wanted to stay close to home, I didn't want to have to move my family to Jacksonville," Patterson said.

"The key thing was distance. I do get homesick a lot."

While taking an hour-long walk Tuesday night around Ritter Park in Huntington, he said, his choice became clear. When his mother asked him if he was 100 percent sure, he said, yes.

"I do like Florida a lot, and my parents were willing to move to Florida for me. I just didn't want to move my family there to start over," Patterson said.

Both of his parents were by his side at Huntington High's gymnasium when he announced his decision. They said they were proud of their son and happy that he will be close to home.

"I am a Duke fan, I grew up in the Carolinas. But I am a Wildcat fan now, this will be OK," said Patterson's father, Buster Patterson.

"Academics always factored in the Patterson household. You've got to have another dream. Not everybody is going to get to the next level. So it's about education. His grades, if he didn't make honor roll, daddy wasn't happy. That was his job, stay on honor roll and he did that. I know he can do the work," Buster Patterson said.

Patterson helped lead the Highlanders to an unprecedented three-straight Class AAA championships, the last one with the help of O.J. Mayo, who is off to Southern Cal in the fall. The two led the team to a 25-2 record and a national ranking this past season.

Patterson's senior year was his best season - 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots per game.

He had 14 points and seven blocked shots in Huntington's 103-61 victory over South Charleston in this year's Class AAA title game. Patterson sat down with 2:33 left in the game to a standing ovation from the near-sellout crowd.

He was the state's 2006 Player of the Year and finished 30 votes this year behind Mayo's 93. Both were also selected to the McDonald's All-American team and to the Class AAA all-state first team.

Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie said the Wildcats were fortunate to land Patterson.

"This is a great day for Kentucky basketball," Gillispie said in a statement Wednesday night.

"We're grateful he chose to extend his recruitment to the last day of the signing period because it gave us a chance to develop a relationship and that's the most important part of recruiting. Obviously, it was a family decision, and a well thought out one. I'm glad he chose Kentucky."

Kentucky fan and alumnus Ken O'Roark, who lives in Huntington and attended Wednesday's news conference, said Patterson's talents will be good for the Wildcats.

"I think this is potentially the biggest recruit we have signed in 20 plus years since Rex Chapman. I am elated, and I think he made a great decision. He will be adored and loved by UK fans for his tenure at UK and forever."

Huntington resident Nate Adkins, a UK graduate also in attendance, said Patterson will fill a "big need for our team in the interior portion. I expect him to get a lot of rebounds, ... and I think this puts us back in position where we could win a national championship again."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by bebo Location: hazard on May 21, 2007 at 10:28 PM
    got 8 this year
  • by English Teach Location: Lexington on May 21, 2007 at 06:00 AM
    Note to DANBURTON Location: STANFORD: Please stop worrying about basketball and return to school for an education. Your spelling and use of words in your post is one of the big reasons Kentucky has the stigma of being uneducated and backwards; the priorities are not in order. Basketball before education will not get you far in life.
  • by Chuck Location: Lexington,KY on May 20, 2007 at 01:25 PM
    Luckly, Tubby wasn't doing his job so Gillispe could vist. Go Cats..
  • by kevin Location: paris on May 20, 2007 at 06:17 AM
    Could this be the equal to Pitino signing Mashburn? I remember a new coach taking over a program in much worse shape than this team then, he signed a big name recruit. Not long after Mash came other big names started coming to UK and so did the NCAA titles.
  • by DANBURTON Location: STANFORD on May 18, 2007 at 06:53 PM
    IM SO GLAD TO SEE THAT WE ARE TAKING THE RIGHT STEPS TO GET BACK TO THE ELITE PROGRAM THAT WE WAS IN THE PAST. ONE THING THAT WE SHOULD NOT OVER LOOK AS FANS IS THAT THERE IS STILL A LOT OF TALENT ON THIS TEAM BESIDES PATTERSON. ALEX LEGION IS A LIGHTS OUT SHOOTER AND WITH RAMEL,JOE,JODIE,DERRICK,PERRY STEVENSON WAND NOW THE MAN PATRICK WE ARE NOW A TEAM TO RECKON WITH. I THINK THAT WE ARE DIFFENTLY GOING TO SURPRISE A LOT OF TEAMS THIS YEAR AND I WOULD BET ANY WEB BROWSER THAT WE WILL NOT SEE A 10 LOSS SEASON FOR THE REMINDER OF BILLY G CAREER AT UK. LONG LIVE BIG BLUE, LONG LIVE BILLY G. IM SO HAPPY WITH THE PROGRESS IN SUCH LITTLE TIME. ONE LAST COMMENT FOR RICK PITINO WHEN HE SAID AND QUOTE THAT IF TUBBY LEFT KENTUCKY WE WOULD BE SET BACK 10 YEARS TWO WORDS PITINO "YEAH RIGHT" BE SCARED LOUISVILLE, BE SCARED NCAA, KENTUCKY IS BACK AND READY TO GET SOME PAY BACK. I LOVE MY KENTUCKY B-BALL
  • by Casey Location: Lexington on May 18, 2007 at 02:07 PM
    I hope he's as good as most people are making him out to be or we will be in for another dissapointment.
  • by UK Prof Location: Lexington on May 18, 2007 at 06:09 AM
    SUMMA CUM LADDE??? You just killed your point Anthony. Maybe SUMMA CUM LA-DE-DAH...lol! It's SUMMA CUM LAUDE for your information. I just wish they would give us profs a guaranteed contract with a buy-out clause like coaches get.
  • by Michael Location: Lexington on May 18, 2007 at 04:07 AM
    To Alice in Grayson: I might agree with you but Kentucky had a coach that averaged 26 wins per season. It's not that the quality of UK basketball has decreased, it's the fact that other programs have gotten better. You can't be on top of the world forever. There is nothing wrong with fans having high expectations but there is something wrong with placing a sport as your number on priority. There was a guy named Tim who called into talk radio the other day. He and some friends (approximately 25 to 50 of them) drove to Huntington to wave banners and signs at the Patterson press conference to try and convince him to come to UK. When gas is $3.19 per gallon, I have to shake my head at this kind of thinking. Billy G. gets paid to recruit and I really think it is OCD for a fan to take this type of action. I just think some people take UK basketball too seriously. I'm just not picking on UK fans since other college and pro sports fans do the same thing, but since I live here, this is where my comments go.
  • by pauline weaver Location: manchester ky on May 17, 2007 at 08:16 PM
    i think he will like ky i am sure he will fit right in here just like be home
  • by DB Location: STANFORD on May 17, 2007 at 02:46 PM
    THE WAIT IS OVER AND NOW ITS TIME TO RE KINDLE THE FIRE THAT WAS DEEPLY LOST IN THE PAST YEARS. PATTERSON IS A TRUE STAR AND WILL SHINE EVER SO BRIGHTLY AT UK. WE KNOW AND SO DOES HE THAT HE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE. BLUE TILL WE DIE WOOODDDDAAAA

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