Today we will be doing an excerpt from the article "Man on a Mission: How Patrick Patterson Became the Most Celebrated Recruit To Come to Kentucky in Almost 20 Years" by Travis Hubbard out of Wildcat Tip-off. It's an article about Patrick Patterson's recruitment that has a ton of details that have been previously unreported.
I will be keeping intro paragraphs short today because of the volume of posts. I want to keep as many visible as possible, so most of the content will be following the jump.
First, a bit of an intro to this piece. Travis Hubbard covered Patrick Patterson throughout his high school career for the Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch, from 2003-2007. Travis is intimately familiar with Patrick's recruitment from the perspective of someone who was there in West Virginia with the Pattersons while it was going on. In addition, UK granted Travis an interview with Patrick prior to publication to add to his considerable volume of notes from previous interviews.
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" Tubby asked if Patrick would be interested in coming to Minnesota"
Two months earlier, and perhaps days away from announcing where he would attend college and play basketball, Patterson received a flurry of text messages that brought his recruitment to a shocking halt.
Patterson, at the time a 17-year-old kid with a herculean frame, was greeting some far less fortunate and much frailer children—babies, toddlers, and teens fighting cancer, childhood diabetes, and tragic injuries—on March 22, 2007.
Patterson and high school basketball teammate O.J. Mayo had weeks earlier been named McDonald’s All- Americans for their play at Huntington High School. Visiting a Ronald McDonald House in the high school All-American basketball game’s host city was a requirement for the honor, but Patterson and Mayo did the same in their hometown on this day, six days prior to the game in Louisville, at the request of local Ronald McDonald House administrators. They were also paraded to nearby Cabell-Huntington Hospital’s pediatric ward.
Patrick and his mother, Tywanna, sat down with me in a Cabell-Huntington Hospital waiting room minutes after Patrick received news of Smith’s eventual departure, and they asked me more questions than I asked them. They wanted answers and were entitled to them.
The initial reaction to Smith’s departure was shock.
"I was mad, a little frustrated," Patrick said. "I was disappointed Tubby wasn’t going to be there. But I was also anticipating what would happen next."
More than anything they were confused.
Smith, even before the SEC Tournament, had been rumored to be on his way out—either of his own volition or being pressured—because of disagreements with the UK administration. So, there was reason to be skeptical.
It was apparent Patrick was distracted and agitated. He wanted to get out of the hospital and make some phone calls. To his credit, Patterson wanted the focus on this day to be on the hospitalized children he had come to inspire.
This is one of the most interesting articles in the Annual, and gets inside Patrick Patterson's thoughts throughout the process. Great stuff.