HOOPS: Team Chemistry Important For Patterson

After a full summer of camps and AAU tournaments that took him from one end of the country to another, Patrick Patterson is happy to be back home in Huntington, West Virginia where he’s enjoying hanging out with his high school teammates, playing basketball daily and getting in workouts at the nearby Hit Center.

Rated the number four power forward in the country and the number 11 overall player in the most recent rankings by Scout.com, Patterson has narrowed down his list of favorite schools to six and he has already scheduled two visits. On the favorite’s list are Florida, Duke, Kentucky, Wake Forest, Virginia and West Virignia. The first visit will be to Gainesville the weekend of September 9 to the University of Florida and the second will be the weekend of September 30 to Duke.

Patterson’s family will be flying into Gainesville on Thursday evening, September 7 so that they can have the entire day Friday for touring the academic facilities. Patrick said that getting a good feel for the campus is very important to him.

“I want to check out the campus of course, but I also want to see what kind of things there are to do on and off campus,” he said. “I want to get a good feeling about the campus atmosphere, the size of the classrooms, the academic support and all those things but I also want to see what kind of stuff goes on on weekends.”

The 6-8-1/2, 235-pounder is a huge sports fan who has stated in previous interviews that he wants to be on a campus where all sports are important. The seventh-ranked Florida Gators will be hosting Central Florida in football the weekend of his visit and Florida’s nationally fifth-ranked volleyball team will be hosting a tournament at the O’Connell Center. At halftime of the football game, Florida’s 2006 NCAA championship basketball team will receive their rings.

He said he’s eager to hang around with Florida’s players so he can get a better understanding of team chemistry.

“Team chemistry is very important to me,” he said. “The style of basketball is important but so is the family atmosphere of both the players and the coaches. I want to see how everybody gets along. Does the whole basketball team hang out together? Do they go their separate ways? I want to hang around with them and see that for myself. I want to talk to the coaches and see if I’m comfortable talking to them about more than just basketball, too.”

At The Hit Center, he’s working out on a daily basis. The AAU and camp season was a long grind, but he’s had time to rest and now it’s back to work in the gym.

“I play basketball with my high school teammates and I work out a lot at The Hit Center,” he said. “I’m training, doing agility work, working to improve my vertical, getting stronger in my lower and upper body overall.”

The goal is to improve a 255-pound bench press to 300 pounds by the time the high school basketball season rolls around.

“I can get there,” he said. “I just have to keep working hard and I can’t let up.”

Patterson is considered the nation’s premier rebounder and he’s an outstanding defensive presence. He averaged 14.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocked shots per game as a high school junior. He became the first junior since Randy Moss to be named Mr. Basketball for the state of West Virginia.

Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.