Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Two big names will remain in the state of Kentucky next year.
Kentucky sophomore Patrick Patterson will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and will return to the Wildcats for his junior season.
Also, Louisville says coach Rick Pitino is not interested in returning to the NBA.
“I have the chance to graduate in three years, which is important to me and my family,” the 6-foot-9 Patterson said. “I want to help Kentucky compete for a national title, and even more than that win its eighth national championship. I’m also really excited about playing for Coach Cal and developing my game in the dribble drive offense.”
An All-SEC performer, Patterson was the only player in the SEC to rank in the top five in scoring (17.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg). Patterson also led the SEC in double-doubles with 15, the eighth most in a single season in UK history.
“In the month that I’ve been at Kentucky, I’ve been blown away by Patrick Patterson,” Head Coach John Calipari said. “He is one of the nicest individuals I’ve met and one of the fiercest competitors that I’ve been around. I’m thrilled I get to coach him next year.”
Patterson will land an NBA-type front line that also includes 6-10 recruit DeMarcus Cousins and 6-10 Daniel Orton.
“I figure you can’t go wrong, two good players,” Orton said previously. “I am [excited about playing with DeMarcus]. It’s going to be fun, especially if Patrick Patterson stays, which I think he will.”
Now all Calipari needs is to land point guard John Wall and for shooting guard Jodie Meeks to return to campus. Wall is considered a Kentucky lean but has yet to officially cut his list.
Calipari also just got a commitment from Alabama point guard Eric Bledsoe, the No. 3 point guard in the nation. Bledsoe and Wall could either play together or Bledsoe could start if Wall goes elsewhere.
If Wall and Meeks are in Lexington, Kentucky could be headed to the Final Four.
Louisville had hoped to make the Final Four this past season, but fell to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.
Now, the university insists there is no truth to a Yahoo! Sports report that said Pitino had inquired about the Sacramento Kings’ vacant coaching job. Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein said Pitino was in his office Friday but did not feel it necessary to address the situation.
Pitino just finished his eighth season with the Cardinals, leading Louisville to a 31-6 record and the Big East regular-season and tournament titles.
Pitino has coached two NBA teams. He went 90-74 with the Knicks from 1987 to 1989 and 102-146 with the Boston Celtics from 1997 to 2001.
(The AP contributed)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.