Patrick Patterson has new wheels, a Lincoln Mark LT, courtesy of his father. The black truck is not the only difference for Kentucky’s big man.
“I’ve got a new game to go with my new car,” he said. “I’m trying to show the new areas I’m working on.”
Patterson, who missed his only four three-point attempts in his first two seasons for Kentucky, made two of four in Wednesday’s Blue White Game, an intra-squad scrimmage in Rupp Arena. Those baskets contributed to a 24-point night that included eight rebounds.
“I’ll shoot them as much as Coach (John Calipari) wants me to,” Patterson said.
Not even the thrill of adding his own dribble-drive to UK’s new dribble-drive offense compared to the shots made from beyond the arc.
When asked whether driving around Ramon Harris for a layup provided greater satisfaction than hitting the threes, Patterson did not hesitate.
“No,” he said. “Threes. Threes. Definitely the threes. To hit threes is something I haven’t done.”
Patterson, an All-Southeastern Conference power player last season, credited Calipari’s new offense, which puts an emphasis on driving off the dribble and creating. Not so coincidentally, Patterson took his name out of this year’s NBA Draft because he believed he could improve his stock by becoming better on the perimeter.
The better three-point shooting, at least for this night, came from “just being out there on the perimeter,” Patterson said.
Calipari noted that the Blue-White Game supported his contention that Patterson could be more productive (or productive at all) on the perimeter while continuing to be effective as a power player.
“He needs to be more vocal,” Calipari said of Patterson. “But what I liked is, he was able to play the offense and still be around the basket. Didn’t you like seeing him shooting threes? Were you amazed?”
As expected, freshmen Eric Bledsoe and John Wall burned shoe leather in sprints up and down the floor. Wall had 25 points and 11 assists. Bledsoe added 14 points and nine assists.
Sophomore Darnell Dodson, the heir apparent to Jodie Meeks, made three three-pointers en route to a game-high 26 points (24 for the Blue team and two for the White team).
Josh Harrellson, who had a double-double by halftime, continued the good shooting he showed at Big Blue Madness. He finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Freshman DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points and nine rebounds. Another freshman big man, Daniel Orton, added 14 points and eight rebounds.
A flurry by Patterson capped a first half that saw the Blue team leave the floor with a 49-27 halftime lead. He scored his team’s final five baskets in a fashion that suggested he might be a more versatile offensive threat this season.
Patterson began the flurry by taking a half-court lob from Bledsoe and slammed it home. Thereafter, he drove by Harris for a layup, hit another driving layup by whirling the ball underneath a defender, hit a three-pointer from the right side and went one-on-one for a pull-up shot at the buzzer to complete his 15-point half.
DeAndre Liggins provided the only big surprise. How often do you see a player pick up six fouls in a half? Liggins, who guarded Wall for stretches, got his fourth foul with 8:57 left in the first half. The fifth came at the 7:19 mark and the sixth at 5:44. That last one sparked applause from the crowd. He finished with eight fouls.
The crowd got involved in politely applauding as former UK Coach Joe B. Hall took a seat near Calipari on the Blue team bench.
The crowd also showed its displeasure by booing when referee Tom Eades called Wall for palming.
Otherwise, it was a fun night capped by two Wall dunks.
For Patterson, the fun figures to continue when he climbs back into his new black truck.
“He just gave in,” Patterson said of his father finally fulfilling his pleadings for a new vehicle. “I’m ecstatic.”
Highly regarded prospects C.J. Leslie and Terrence Jones attended the Blue-White Game. Leslie is a forward from Raleigh, N.C. He played with UK freshman John Wall last season. Jones is a forward from Portland, Ore.
The two prospects sat in the front row behind the White team bench. From that vantage point, they could hear fans chant their names.