Patterson averaged 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last year while shooting 60.3 percent from the field. He did that even though UK had only one other legitimate scorer - Jodie Meeks - in coach Billy Gillispie's final season.
"I think he is a true power forward and can shoot well enough from the outside. He won't be able to be double- and triple-teamed this year with some of the new players on the team that are there to help him and the type of offense that (John) Calipari will play," Stamper said.
"Patrick Patterson is a great player. He is very athletic, a really strong player. I think we may get to see him shine even more this year. The last couple of years he has kind of been out of position and has not had that much help around the basket."
He should have plenty of help this year with Perry Stevenson returning and the arrival of Cousins and Orton, two of the nation's top prep players. Reserve Josh Harrellson is also back from last year's team.
"Everything about this team will be a growing, learning process," Pratt said. "They have some great freshmen coming in, but this will be Patrick's team. Make no mistake about that."
Strong work ethic
Stamper believes Patterson would have fit in with players 25 or 30 years ago because of his work ethic.
"He just has that demeanor about him," Stamper said. "I love the touch he has around the basket. Everything is not just a dunk. He blocks out well, rebounds well."
Stamper says Patterson reminds him a "little bit" of Dan Issel, UK's all-time leading scorer.
"At that time you couldn't dunk the basketball, so Issel learned to be a finesse player. Issel was probably bigger than Patterson body-wise, but Patterson is that type of player. They are both special," Stamper said.
Stamper believes Calipari will be, too, and was thrilled when he left Memphis to come to Kentucky. Stamper recently met Calipari for the first time, but he was more than ready for a coaching change and has embraced Calipari's personality.
"I didn't really have anything against Gillispie as a coach. He did some things different, but a lot of coaches do things different. It was just the enthusiasm wasn't there with the players," Stamper said. "You could see in the players' faces that they were not very happy with certain things. Lots of times players might not be happy if they are not getting to play, but you could tell this was different.
"I think practicing hard on game day took a toll on them. People going to games were not excited, either, and that should never happen at Kentucky. I tried giving tickets away and couldn't find anybody to take them. Previously I would always have people wanting tickets."
What about this year?
"I already have had people wanting tickets for this year. I don't think any tickets will go to waste this year," he said.
Editor's note: Larry Vaught is sports editor at the Danville Advocate-Messenger, a sister paper to The Jessamine Journal.