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Sports in Kentucky

Patterson's return seals his stardom


 

 

Music to the ears of Kentucky basketball fans came in a solo last week from Patrick Patterson. “I’m coming back.”

First stanza: “I have the chance to graduate in three years, which is important to me and my family,” Patterson said.

Second stanza: “I want to help Kentucky compete for a national title, and even more than that win its eighth national championship.”

Chorus: “I’m also really excited about playing for Coach Cal and developing my game in the dribble drive offense.”

Patterson’s lyrics make for toetapping harmony in the homeland.

School loyalties aside, No. 54’s less-about-me-more-about-team reasoning marks a flowering of leadership. An example for all, regardless of school loyalties, of right-thinking.

This week, a few ideas on why Patterson made the right decision.

• Natural leader. Should be team captain. When times are toughest, he is a gatherer of teammates into huddles … “Okay guys, calm down. Let’s do this.”

• Two years of combat experi- ence on the Southeastern Conference road puts him two up and “listen up!” for Daniel Orton, DeMarcus Cousins and other newcomers.

• Two years up on his coaches also. And a reminder the SEC won’t be C-USA.

• By the time of the annual Kentucky Louisville emotional clash, Patterson will make certain the newbies understand this is not “just another game.”

• Battle in the post. The man UK foes try to muscle up to and deny passes inside to won’t be Patterson. Means his energy won’t be spent on push-and-shove post play.

• Natural rebounder, Patterson’s name could show up in sentences next season with Bill Spivey, Cliff Hagan and Bob Burrow. Bill, Cliff and Bob Who? Look it up under UK all-time rebounders.

• At power forward, Patterson can show pro scouts why he doesn’t just “look” like LeBron James.

Best of all …

• Another year on campus … more media awards … and Senior Day.

• Flip the tassel and hand a college diploma to Mom. Priceless.

• The pot of gold at end of the (NBA) rainbow will be there.

• Finally, the UK nickname popularity meter bumps up the name PatP to rare air occupied by Skywalker, Louie, Cotton, Kyle, Pel, Mash and Dan.

PatP fits nicely doesn’t it?

Bledsoe Ignition

Gentlemen, start your engines!

With the North Carolina Tar Heels having closed within four wins of America’s winningest college basketball program, Kentucky coach John Calipari, new owner of this here Kadillac, has inserted a key into the ignition. Eric Bledsoe, all 6-feet, 160 pounds of him, may be the kid to fire this engine and start UK’s new era of national prominence.

On a team that should have more big guns than USS Missouri, Bledsoe is a stutter-step quick penetrator more likely to remind fans of Sean Woods than Tony Delk. A scorer more than pure shooter.

Could be last piece in a puzzle that suddenly catapults Calipari to candidacy to be Kentucky’s second coach to win an NCAA title in his first year.

Footnote. Bledsoe may be just what the UK doctor ordered, but recruiting analysts who rated him six spots ahead of Louisville newcomer Peyton Siva among point guard prospects appear to have gotten it wrong.

News & Views

NEWS. Scott County High basketball coach and Harlan County native Billy Hicks visited Knott County recently causing a buzz that he might be “going home” to eastern Kentucky to coach at Knott County Central. Hicks declared he is staying at Scott County.

VIEW. Pikeville to Whitesburg and communities between, there’s a unique magnetism for eastern Kentucky natives. A call home.

Because Hicks has coached two Scott County teams to state titles and because ball coaches are ever drawn to new challenge, the buzz was not unreasonable that Hicks might leave Georgetown and test himself at hoops hotbed Knott Central.

You can reach Bob Watkins at

sprtsinky@aol.com



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