Patrick Patterson said he had no regrets coming back for his junior year. "Fully satisfied with his…
The Patterson Legacy
The thought of perhaps winning a national championship made Patrick Patterson seriously consider coming back to Kentucky for his senior season. However, he says ultimately he decided the time was right for him to put his name in the NBA draft and leave the Kentucky program that has come to adore him. Patterson, who wore a blue UK nylon shirt, had teammates, coaches and his parents watching Friday when he announced he would be leaving as most had speculated he would. He thanked former coach Tubby Smith for initially recruiting him to UK and then former coach Billy Gillispie for giving him the chance to start two years. He then acknowledged that coach John Calipari enabled him to expand his game this year by playing him on the perimeter and made him a "better player and person." "I want to thank the Big Blue Nation for supporting me and the great love and support they gave my family," Patterson said. "I want to thank my teammates. We created memories, and I hope to make more." Patterson said he "definitely" considered coming back because of his "love" for the university and teammates. "I just felt it was time for me to go and start a new chapter in my life. I had a great collegiate career here. I had a lot of fun, created memories and met exciting people. I am still trying to get my degree, but I felt it was time to go and move on." He said he still has "no regrets" about returning even though UK lost in the Elite Eight to West Virginia to fall three wins short of a national championship he desperately wanted to win. He says he "broadened" his game and improved his ballhandling, perimeter defense, outside shot and his confidence "skyrocketed" because of the way Calipari and his staff pushed him. "I have no bitter taste in my mouth from returning for my junior season," Patterson, who said he has no idea where he might be drafted, said. Patterson said Calipari told him he would like to have him back but that he wanted him to do what was best for him. "He will always be here for me. His door will be open and his phone on for me to call. He is right there beside me," Patterson said as Calipari looked on. "He would love to coach me, but he wants me to do what is best for me. "Last year I wasn't really confident with my jump shot and things on the perimeter and guarding players on the perimeter. I was pretty much post oriented. I have improved my foot speed, quickness, perimeter jump shot, everything. I am extremely grateful to him (Calipari). He helped me in areas I needed the most improvement and my overall confidence in myself by constantly pushing me daily. He taught me defense. He wanted me to guard on the perimeter. He had confidence in me and that helped me." However, the legacy he hopes he left at Kentucky has nothing to do with points, rebounds or blocked shots. Instead, it's all about the character he had and shared with the Kentucky faithful. Here's what he said he wants his legacy to be: "Someone who wore the jersey with pride, a great ambassador for the university who worked hard on and off the court. Accomplished things off the court. Got his degree. Someone who put everyone before himself and put teammates before himself. A hard worker who did things for the university. Went around with a smile on his face and never turned down an autograph or picture. He was there for fans and fans were there for him."
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