‘Cats fans, prepare yourselves to get really excited and then immediately try to temper your own excitement.
Patrick Patterson, in an interview with the Courier-Journal’s UK writer Brett Dawson, has said that he has not ruled out a return to Kentucky for his senior season:
Patterson’s a highly-regarded NBA Draft pick, and he’ll graduate in May. That makes his return seem (to me, at least) to be an unlikely proposition. So I might have rolled my eyes at the possibility of Patterson mentioning a return if not for a couple of details from our interview today.
The most significant, I thought, was that Patterson brought up — without my asking him about it — the idea that if he comes back, he might have a shot at breaking Dan Issel’s scoring record. Patterson said breaking that record is “always in the back of my mind,” and that’s the one thing that made me believe he’s given this thing some serious thought.
On the other hand, it’s clear that Patterson is always aware of the possibility that he could be nearing the end of his UK career. He talked about wanting to make the season special “just in case” it’s his last go-round, and said that he thinks “daily” about the fact that this could be his last semester at UK. When the Wildcats played at Florida last week, Patterson said, he thought about the fact that it could be his last time playing at the O’Connell Center.
Patrick Patterson has significantly bolstered his NBA stock this season after surprising some and opting to return for his sophomore year when he was almost assuredly a top 20 pick in last year’s draft. He further endeared himself to UK fans in doing so and has further solidified his place in UK lore.
I would suggest that you don’t get too excited about this, because the correct economic decision for Patterson will almost certainly be to go pro, and John Calipari will tell him so. However, economics is not the only thing to be considered. Patterson clearly loves UK and if the opportunity to become the school’s all-time leading scorer is important to him and he feels like he wants to accomplish more wearing UK blue, there is a situation that could lead to his return.
Last year, I obsessed quite a bit from January on about Patterson’s and Jodie Meeks’ decision regarding their future simply because there wasn’t good basketball to watch. The good news is that now we have plenty more fun stuff to think about before April and May when Patterson, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Bledsoe have to determine whether they will return to school.