Men's basketball

Hitting the mark: Patterson overcomes obstacles on way to signing with Syracuse

Courtesy of the Indianapolis Star

Ron Patterson will arrive at Syracuse next fall. He is currently playing at Brewster Academy after his commitment out of high school with Indiana fell through.

Last February, Ron Patterson was on top of the Indiana high school basketball world. Already signed to a scholarship by Indiana University, he took to the hardwood on Feb. 4 and solidified his brewing state legacy.

In a 69-62 loss to West Central High School, Patterson’s 15 points made him the all-time scoring leader in Broad Ripple High School’s history, a record that was previously held by Jeff Robinson for more than 30 years.

Upon eclipsing Robinson, Patterson also passed the scoring marks of New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson and current Indiana Pacer guard George Hill, who also had illustrious careers at Broad Ripple High School.

“It felt great knowing who I passed up for the scoring title,” Patterson said in an email. “I also felt like I accomplished a lot in my four years at Broad Ripple.”

After his commitment to the Hoosiers fell through, Patterson switched his sights to Syracuse. On Nov. 21, Patterson signed his letter of intent to play for the Orange in the 2013-14 season. Originally in the class of 2012, Patterson was rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com.

But few things have come easily for Patterson up to this point.

In June, Patterson enrolled in a summer faculty sponsorship program at Indiana University for students who had not met all of the University’s requirements for admission. After three months of hard work both on and off the court, things didn’t go as Patterson had planned. His academic showing in the summer didn’t meet the standard set by IU’s administration.

“He ended the summer great, but in their eyes he just wasn’t ready,” said Chris Hawkins, Patterson’s AAU coach with Indiana Elite. “In the end they just withdrew his application.

“He was disappointed, he had been playing with the other freshman all summer, and they came back and said he just couldn’t get into the school.”

Six months earlier, Patterson had set his school’s scoring record and been named to the Indianapolis all-city first team, with a scholarship to Indiana University in his back pocket.

But with just weeks until the start of the fall semester, he had a big decision to make: Pursue another college opportunity right away, or attend a fifth year of high school as a post-graduate student.

“After I left Indiana I didn’t think much of it,” Patterson said. “I didn’t get discouraged, I just kept my head up and adapted.”

As Patterson endured the shocking turn of events, he and his family decided that he would attend Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. Brewster’s head basketball coach, Jason Smith, was Patterson’s coach in the Derby Festival Classic, an event in Kentucky that showcases the best high school basketball talent in the area. Previous encounters between Patterson and Smith had a huge hand in leading him to New Hampshire.

At Brewster, Patterson has quickly adapted to a situation that he could never have anticipated being in.

“Academically, he did very well during our fall trimester,” Smith said, “and earned citizenship status based on his work ethic, engagement in class and in our community.”

Hawkins said Patterson losing his scholarship and moving to Brewster is not the only roadblock he has faced in his basketball career.

“He was the biggest kid in eighth grade and was really just a leaper who could dunk,” Hawkins said. “As other kids grew around him he was pushed to the guard position and had to change his entire game. It was definitely a challenge for him.”

Once relying on superior height, Patterson has made himself into a scoring guard who can drive to his left and right, and also shoot the 3-pointer. Defensively, he always takes the challenge of guarding the opposition’s top player and plays with a high amount of hustle and tenacity.

At 6 feet 3 inches, he has a wingspan of close to 7 feet — disproportional length that allows him to not only defend quick guards, but players that are bigger than him as well.

Syracuse took notice of Patterson’s versatile skill set and made him a scholarship offer. It had been a whole year since he had signed his letter of intent to play basketball at Indiana when he accepted the offer from Syracuse, a program that was not reportedly interested in him the first time around.

Smith is fully confident Patterson’s decision to play at Syracuse is going to be highly beneficial for the program as a whole.

“Our team has approximately 11 scholarship-level prospects and Ron is being counted on to be one of our leaders this season,” Smith said. “He is an excellent defender and has tremendous length, and that length will be very effective in Syracuse’s zone defense.”

Upon signing with Syracuse, Patterson joins Tyler Ennis, Chinonso Obokoh, Tyler Roberson and B.J. Johnson as freshmen who will join the team next year.

With a rocky process in the rearview mirror, Patterson is ready to make his presence felt right away.

“I’m very excited to be part of a great program and to play for a great coaching staff,” Patterson said. “I like taking on the big stage, and next year I am just going to play hard on every possession.”

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