Pittsburgh basketball hardly ever has a face of the team that stands out from the rest of the rotation. This season, senior Lamar Patterson may not be receiving the attention he deserves, but if he can put up big numbers this week — especially versus Syracuse Saturday — he could become more than just another member of the Panthers’ starting five.
Current and former Big East fans and attentive ACC fans probably understand what Patterson is capable of, but the nation will finally get to see one of country’s best all-around players in the ACC game-of-the-week in the Carrier Dome this weekend.
Patterson is coming off a terrific performance of 27 points against Wake Forest in the Panthers’ victory Saturday. His scoring numbers are up nearly eight points from last season to about 18 points per game. Patterson also leads the Panthers in assists at 4.5 per game and is a string rebounder at 4.7 per game. Patterson is an extremely efficient player who rarely makes a poor decision on offense. He averages just two turnovers per game and is one of the best passers — no matter the position — in the country.
The only problem with Patterson is sometimes the biggest problem with any big-time Pitt player. Coach Jamie Dixon clearly preaches to his team that ball movement and balance is key to the Panthers’ offense. However, Patterson should be even more of a focus than he already is. Patterson has recently taken over in his three ACC games and is averaging 22.6 points on 58 percent shooting from the field. He also has knocked down seven of his 15 three-pointers in conference play.
Pitt’s first match-up at Georgia Tech this week should act as a warm-up for Patterson and the Panthers will probably end up walking away from the game with a 4-0 conference record. That game will set up the battle between former Big East opponent Syracuse.
If Patterson can take over against the Orange on Saturday, he will be featured in highlights, in write-ups and should become a player more people are excited to watch come NCAA tournament time.
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