Even though a season-ending stress fracture in his ankle made him miss five games last year, Patterson's numbers were NBA-worthy. He averaged 16.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 35.7 minutes per game. He shot 57.4 percent from the field and 73.1 percent at the foul line. He had 43 assists, 31 blocked shots and 21 steals. In 25 games, he fouled out only four times.
Patterson expects to get better, too.
"I have to expand my game. The coaching staff has talked to me about areas I need to develop and improve," he said. "I have been trying to work on my ballhandling, driving to the basket more, extending my jump shot and improving my perimeter defense. I have plenty to work on and get better at. I can have a lot better year this year than I did last year."
Maybe that's why no one in Patterson's family was anxious for him to leave Kentucky for life in the NBA.
"My husband is ex-military and Patrick has been taught if he starts something, you try your best to finish it," his mother, Twyanna, said. "He was taught discipline and not to quit. He was taught to do things the right way and respect other people. You earn respect that way. Respect is not given. You earn it by doing the right things."
Kentucky assistant coach Glynn Cyprien believes Patterson's family ties make it much more likely that he'll stay at Kentucky longer than some others believe.
"They are around all the time. When he says he wants to stay here and play, I think the kid really means that. It is awesome to have them (his parents) around because they are great people," Cyprien said.
But it's not only his parents" affection for the Kentucky program and his upbringing that have made Patterson so fond of Kentucky.
"I just like the love and support here whether it be from fans or students. The support you get at games is unbelievable," Patterson said. "So many people in the community and the fans just come together to back you. It's just a family-type base with the players, staff and everybody connected with the team and the fans.
"Plus, this is supposed to be the best time of your life. I want to go out, have fun, enjoy partying. Then the games are so much fun. Night in, night out there is just nothing like the college atmosphere."
Does that include the academic workload"
"I'll have to be honest, I don't enjoy school as much as I probably should. Not many people like going to class. It's something you have to do. I take it one day at a time and just try to take care of business like I would on the basketball court," Patterson said.
"I have classes and professors I enjoy and like to be around. I am in most classes with teammates, which makes it better for me. All the classes in college are hard. They are all tough to pass. You have to study hard every day, but you have to understand that is also part of the college life."
That attitude is why those who have now been around Patterson at Kentucky have been so impressed. Leon Smith, UK's assistant athletics director for men's basketball, says it is not hard to distinguish what makes Patterson a special player.
"Just his drive and desire. It is almost like he has a very serious mindset for being a guy so young," Smith said. "You have some guys that tend to be very playful, very jovial in the way they present themselves. He presents himself from the first time you meet him as a man. That's the way he is with everything. He is business-like in everything he does, and that's a big difference between him and other young players I have seen."
So is he too perfect"
"When you talk about what you see is what you get, that defines Patrick Patterson. That's how he is and has been from day one. He's exactly as good as he seems to be," Smith said.
What about off the court" Any problems getting him to class, tutor sessions, team meetings, etc"
"He approaches his personal life the same way he does his basketball life. He is on time for everything and does what you ask him to do. You don't have to remind him about anything. He does things the right way. Once you tell him something, you know it will be done," said Smith.
Considering Patterson is only a sophomore, Smith knows his future leadership potential is unlimited.