Patterson Making Most of Summer
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Highly-touted junior college player Jackie Patterson has a new home.
The star forward that helped lead Hutchinson Community College to the National Junior College Championship game is feeling comfortable as ever after a month in Lubbock around her new teammates, coaches and workout routine.
"It's been good, especially now that it's been a few weeks," Patterson said. "It took a little time to get used to the weights and conditioning and all the workouts but it's been good overall."
Patterson is one of five newcomers on the Lady Raiders roster, rejoining AAU teammates Minta Spears and Kellyn Schneider in the 2012 class along with Ivonne Cook-Taylor and Shunta Nevitt. The newcomers have all been enrolled at Texas Tech since the first summer session began and are getting plenty of time to get to know one another.
"We've all been spending a lot of time together," she said. "Everybody does their shooting drills together, we lift together, we study together - everything is together. It just really helps you build as a team."
The 2011-12 NJCAA All-American averaged 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last season and was a two-time NJCAA Player of the Week, NJCAA National All-Tournament Team member while leading the Blue Dragons to a perfect 36-0 record before falling in the national title game.
Patterson said she gives a lot of credit to Hutchinson head coach John Ontjes in helping her develop the tools necessary to get to the Big 12 Conference finally, a level she knew she was not ready for immediately out of high school.
"At Hutch, coach Ontjes really put everything into me," she said. "He taught me things that I didn't know in high school. How to move toward the basket better and things like that. He really helped me raise my level of play by going JUCO. He helped me a lot."
After two seasons, she says she is now ready for the Division I level but knows this is an important summer to continue to get stronger and work on every part of her game, including developing more of an outside shot to help complement her already strong play in the paint. She also said she more excited than ever to finally have the chance to play for head coach Kristy Curry and her staff.
"Coach Curry recruited me out of high school but she wasn't sure if I was ready to come to the Big 12 right away," Patterson recalled. "So when she called and (assistant coach Shereka Wright) called, I remembered them. They were telling me that they were offering me a spot. And I really didn't know if it would be Tech, but it was something about coach Curry. She has that mom-type feeling when you are with her and I just knew after that time with her that Texas Tech is where I wanted to be."