Dear Patrick Patterson,
Please, please please...just hang in there. We know things have gotten off to a bit of a rocky start for your team this year, and this is probably not how you envisioned your freshman campaign kicking off, but it will get better. We promise.
You see, as cynical and demanding as UK fans can be, we know a good thing when we see it. And you my friend, are most definitely a good thing. The team may be 5-5, but we know things would likely be much worse had you decided to spend your glory years in Durham or Gainesville instead of good old Lexington. Your stats alone tell quite a story, what with the 17 points and just under nine rebounds per game. For a team with frontcourt depth about as thin as your buddy Perry Stevenson's arms, you've been a rock so far in the middle.
We know it's probably not been easy to watch some of your classmates get the national shine. It's nearly impossible to pick up a sports page anywhere and not read about guys like Rose, Gordon and Love, all doing their thing on top-25 teams. Even your old buddy O.J. has been in the news once or twice, even though his team has had a couple early losses also.
But the spotlight hasn't been there for you yet this year, at least on the national stage. But that's all going to change - just trust me. We see what you’re going through, with all of the double teams down low. We know that you're playing with a stable of guards who sometimes couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. We know you're playing under a coach who's quickly feeling the glare of the spotlight in his first year at the school.
But things will pick up. That guy Jodie who has been sitting for a while? Turns out he’s a pretty good player, and someone who should be able to help ease the scoring load. When he dropped 21 points in his first game back from injury it was easy to read your mind on the bench. "Hey - this guy might be fun to play with.” And just wait until Derrick Jasper gets back too- then you'll really be smiling. That guy loves to pass, and I've got a sneaking suspicion you'll be at the top of his delivery list
Now I'll be honest - we don't think you'll be cutting down any nets in San Antonio this year. There's some guys in Lawrence, Chapel Hill and L.A. who have their hearts set on that. But that doesn't mean you can't make a name for yourself this year. And next season, once your coach has really settled in and installed his system, things will look even brighter. Plus, it can't hurt to have a pair of ultra-athletic wings coming in to help out. Maybe you can even show Darius [Miller] and DeAndre [Liggins] around campus next year.
But there's still a long ways to go this year, and plenty to look forward to. You're only going to get better as the season wears on, and with your teammates getting healthy, not to mention gaining a little humility early in the season, there's no reason why you guys shouldn't expect good things. In fact, with your combination of size and strength, we see no reason why you shouldn’t be near the top of the league in double-doubles.
A few years ago, there was some big guy who spent his freshman year on an under-achieving team that was as inconsistent as the weather. That guy just quietly went about his job, kept working hard, and before you know it, big Al Horford was a 2-time NCAA Champion and NBA lottery pick. Not a bad role model huh?
So just hang in there right now. We know you're working hard, and we know things haven't been quite what you imagined, but it's getting better. We know the temptation of the League is always there, and with so many of your classmates planning the one-and-done route, it’s also probably crossed your mind once or twice. We’re not here to crush your dream, just to delay it. Pay your dues this year, take the bumps in the road, and know you’ll be a better player for it next year.
Big Blue Nation