Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson says he hasn’t necessarily closed the book on his college career, even though the school announced he was going pro.
"I’m half in and half out right now,” Patterson said in an interview with The Associated Press Saturday while he was watching horse races at Keeneland.
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Patterson called the decision on whether to leave or stay for a senior season "a tie,” adding that he hasn’t signed the paperwork to enter the NBA draft so "technically I haven’t declared.”
He said he was weighing several things, including the talent level of next season’s Kentucky team and the possibility of an NBA lockout. Coach John Calipari has encouraged him to return to Kentucky, Patterson said, although he believes he is ready to play at the next level.
Last week, a news release from the university announced Patterson was one of five underclassmen to submit their names for the draft, along with freshman guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe and freshman centers DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton.
"I want to thank the fans who have supported me all three years,” Patterson said in the release. "I also want to thank the coaches for putting me in a position to showcase other parts of my game as well as my versatility. Lexington and UK will always be a special place to me.”
If Patterson were to change his mind, it would be the second time in two seasons. After last season under previous coach Billy Gillispie he announced he was entering the NBA draft, then withdrew his name in May. He hadn’t hired an agent, allowing him to return under NCAA rules.
Rules prohibit a player from submitting the paperwork to enter the draft and withdrawing a second time, so once he does that this time there is no turning back.
Patterson, who is on track to graduate in three years, went through senior day activities with the team in the season finale at Rupp Arena. He said doing that again had crossed his mind and acknowledged it would be strange.
"It would be kind of weird,” he said. "I don’t think anybody else has done that before. I’d probably be the first one.”
Patterson ranked second in the SEC and 12th nationally this season with a 57.5 percent field goal percentage. He has scored the 13th most points in Kentucky history.
He started at power forward for the Wildcats, who were a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, losing to West Virginia in the regional finals.