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Watzone On Patrick Patterson!

When the phone rings at the Patterson household it is usually a Coach or a member of the media wanting to know the latest on the top rated uncommitted player in the class of 2008."He just stepped into the house and he is eating apple pie right now," stated his mom Tywanna Patterson. I couldn't help but to think how appropriate it was that an All American High School basketball player was eating an All American tradition.Patrick stands just over 6-8 and weighs in at 225 pounds. He is a hard working post player that is big on family and relationships. He grew up in a semi small West Virginia town after his family moved from the Washington, D.C. area, where his parents met while he was in the military.

It was clear from day one that Patrick was going to play hoops. "When Buster came to the hospital during just after Patrick's birth, he had a package with him," said Mrs. Patterson. She went on, "It was a basketball for Patrick … and I thought it was something for me."

Patterson is all about family. He has stated on several occasions that his family will play a big role in his pending decision. As a group they really seem to be enjoying the process.

i suppose being a neighbor in Huntington must be exciting. One minute Billy Donavan walks into the Patterson household and the next day Tubby Smith comes calling. Then there is Coach K with Chris Collins in tow.

When I first talked with Patrick during the NBA Players Association Camp in Richmond, Virginia, when I was doing a little work for my new site..

At that time, Patrick was starting his meteoric rise, where he is now in every recruiting services top fifteen. It wasn't always that way for Patrick. "He use to get pushed around on the court when he was younger," said Mrs. Patterson. She went on, "not anymore though."

She is not kidding. Patrick has gone up against the likes of Kyle Singler and Gary Johnson in his AAU battles. He played for Boo Williams in the Summer events, so he is use to playing with talented players.

Speaking of talented players, OJ Mayo, who some consider the top player in his class joined the team in early Fall. One might think Patterson would not like sharing the spotlight, but he has no problem with it. In fact, he is glad to play along side Mayo because he wants a third consecutive State Championship.

So far, all is going well for his Huntington team which is unbeaten and ranked #2 in the country by USA Today. His team owns a win over traditional power DeMatha.

One of his teammates and friend, Chris Early can be found hanging around the Patterson household. Inside information has it that Momma Patterson is a pretty good cook. Early has signed with Oklahoma which is coached by former Dukie Jeff Capel and is one of Patrick's close friends.

Patrick seems to be a social person. "I like to hangout with my friends and do things like go to movies and play video games," said Patterson.

When I covered the Peach Jam, one of the AAU's top events, Patterson once again proved the hype was for good reason with his play. He plays with tenacity, loving the power game. Off the court he has a quiet demeanor.  He doesn't trash talk on the court, but he does play with a intensity.

Like any young man, he goes through life's ups and downs. While at the Peach Jam, somebody stole his backpack, making off with his cell phone and compact discs while he was playing in a game.

Even when upset, Patterson kept his poker face which has become a staple. More than one analyst have stated, "he is hard to read." I have to agree.

Patterson shook off the unfortunate incident and hung out with teammates a consoling family which were visiting from the North and South Carolina border. He seems to be mentally tough and is the only child in his family.

Patrick was sought after during the Peach Jam. One could see the likes of Billy Donavan, Roy Williams and Tubby Smith taking in  every move.

He continues to list Wake Forest, West Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia and Duke as his finalist and has done so since May.

Several interesting things happened at the event, but one of the more intriguing was UNC attempting to get into the race. Roy Williams sent word through a recruiting analyst that they would be calling.

This was breaking news at the time, because coaches were not allowed to make contact with recruits. It was a quiet period, but there is nothing quiet about the Tar Heels getting in the race, as media members scurried about for a story.

Patrick entertained the thought for a week or so, but then declined the Heels attempt to join the race for his services. It still took three more calls before Patrick got it across to a UNC assistant that he was sticking with his list.

When the Tar Heels get involved, you know a player is good. The same can certainly be said for Duke too. Coach K had called the Patterson's as they drove down to the Peach Jam event,  "Coach K talked to us for the first time .... My whole family heard the conversation on the speaker phone."

Coach K had a lot of responsibilities with Team USA Basketball and was unable to attend the many AAU events, but Duke was represented by Collins and Wojo, two capable recruiters from a staff that has been together longer than any in the college game.

His Dad, Buster Patterson was very happy Duke got into the race for his services and when contacted in May, it was obvious that Patrick was interested in the Blue Devils.

After all, Duke has churned out quite a few NBA players of late. As a school, Duke has the highest salaried NBA players and that combined with the education makes Duke attractive to many recruits.

Duke obviously has an opening for a power player, especially if Josh McRoberts takes his game to the next level. When one looks at the forwards Duke has produced, it is certainly a viable option for Patrick.

Patterson has a similar game to other Duke forwards, namely Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer and Shelden Williams. Whether he follows in their footsteps remains to be seen.

"I like to dunk anytime I can," stated Patrick during our chat. That came from me questioning him about his eight dunks in one recent game.

I asked him about the article at one of the major fan sites which said he would sign on March the third. Patterson stated "I don't know where that came from, no date has been set." One thing I can promise you is that a decision will not come until just before April.

"I will be watching the teams closely from here on out," said Patterson. He went on "I want to see how they do in March."

Despite many irresponsible and inaccurate reports on his recruitment, I've noticed a distinct trend since I met Patrick in Richmond. He has pretty much said the same thing all along. In other words, he sticks with the same teams and will take his time in making the decision.

The Patterson's are obviously enjoying the process and their journey continues as his team takes on California power, Lakewood Artesia. It will likely come down to a match up between Patterson and Renardo Sydney.

Sydney wowed observers during the Bob Gibbons tournament, making the all tournament team. He played for one of the best AAU teams ever in the Southern Cal All Stars, which features Taylor King (Duke), Kevin Love (UCLA) and Brandon Jennings (USC).

"We are looking forward to playing against the big boys in Cameron," his Mom said.

Duke fans have a chance to see Patrick on January 30TH in the Durham Hoopball Festival, which features two Duke commitments in Taylor King of Mater Dei and Nolan Smith of Oak Hill Academy.

Patterson will be coming in early with his parents for an unofficial visit and will take in the Boston College game. The Eagles will be a tough opponent and will be in first place in the ACC during their Sunday visit.

How appropriate that Shelden Williams will have his jersey retired forever in to the hallowed Cameron rafters during the BC game. One has to think Patrick might envision himself being where Williams will be, the crowd giving him his well deserved thunderous applause in appreciation of his outstanding career.

Patrick has all the tools to develop into an outstanding player, but will he be the next power player Duke sends to the league? Well, as I said, Duke, like Kentucky, Florida, Virginia, Wake and WVU will have to wait this one out.

Despite the prowess of Kentucky, the recent success at Florida, the up and coming program at UVa, it will be hard to deny that the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area isn't a hotbed for college basketball and that it offers a lot to do..

In the end though, the Patterson's will gather together in their West Virginia home and weigh out the pros and cons.Oh, and Chris Early will probably interrupt them be knocking on the door for some apple pie.

If you would like to read my recent detailed and accurate interview with Patrick or like recruiting information mixed with a bit of inside information, please consider joining the Blue Devil Nation Premium Newsletter. The yearly price is 25.00 off until the end of January. More information here

Also tickets for the Durham Hoopball Classic are here