Is Patrick Patterson the Greatest Role Player in NCAA history?

Patrick Patterson and role player would have never gone in the same sentence prior to this season, but during tonight’s sloppy win, I had an epiphany. Patrick Patterson is a role player on this basketball team, and he might just be the greatest role player in the history of college basketball.

His freshman season he averaged 16.4 and 7.7 per game. His sophomore season he did 17.9 and 9.3 per game. So far this year, Pat is doing 15.1 and 7.5 per game, but during SEC play, he is only averaging 11.8 and 5.7 per contest. In 2010, Patterson has yet to post a double-double, or even grab double digit rebounds in a game. It may sound petty, but during his first two seasons, we grew accustomed to him going out and putting up a double-double.

What exactly is a role player? Some people think of a role player as someone who isn’t very talented but gives it all they have day in and day out. But according to this fabulous article written by a contributor at BleacherReport.com, there are 5 qualities a role player must have.

1. Must fill up the depth chart with versatility – Patterson can play Small Forward, Power Forward, and even Center. Not only can he post up anyone in basketball and hit a hook shot or pop out and hit a 15 foot jumper, but he has developed a consistent 3-point jumpshot. He is shooting 40% from downtown this year.

2. Has confidence and plays hard every game – He could shoot 0-20 and stink the gym up, but nobody would question how hard he fought and hustled. He is one of the toughest guys in college basketball.

3. Plays like a seasoned veteran throughout their career – PPat is a hard worker, good ball handler, has a nice jumper, top notch defender and rebounder, but most importantly he has a high basketball IQ. When the game gets a little sloppy or out of Kentucky’s hands, Patterson always keeps a cool head and never tries to do too much.

4. Be humble – There is really no need for me to even try to prove this. The guy defines humble.

5. Steps up when called upon – My one complaint about Calipari this season is his lack of commitment to get Pat the rock late in the game. But there is one situation that comes to my mind where Pat rose to the occasion. At Florida, with just under 5 minutes left in the ballgame, the Gators were a defensive stop away from blowing the lid off the arena while trying to take the lead from the Cats. Pat had different plans, as he hit a turnaround hook shot while getting fouled. My point is, Cal might not call his number often in late game situations, but when he does, you can count on #54 to capitalize.

By no means am I questioning Pat’s abilities, but on THIS team, he is just a role player. But a role player is exactly what we need. The last thing we need is someone out there trying to score every time they touch the rock. There isn’t enough to go around in terms of stats, but it’s everything else that 2Pat does is what makes him one of the most respected players in recent UK basketball history.

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