Decision looms for Illini target Patterson

Decision looms for Illini target Patterson

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Addison Patterson is a consensus four-star recruit. Every service — from Rivals to 247Sports — considers the Milton, Ont., native and Bella Vista Prep (Ariz.) guard that level of prospect.

He’s not outside the top 30 player rankings on any service, but ESPN values him the highest as the No. 26 overall player in the 2020 class.

At least for now.

Patterson has a decision to make in the next few months. Return to Arizona for the 2019-20 season or reclassify to the 2019 class and get a jumpstart on his collegiate career.

“The only reason I would come back is to get more exposure and get my ranking up and get more of a name going into college,” Patterson said. “I think I’m ready for college right now, but I don’t want to really fly under the radar. I want to get my name out there a little bit first. We’ll see how this summer goes and if I build enough buzz.”

Patterson has generated some buzz this spring playing for Team WhyNot on the Nike EYBL circuit. The 6-foot-6, 185-pound guard is averaging 17.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals playing alongside the likes of fellow Illini target Nimari Burnett and five-star guard Jalen Green.

“We’re all hoopers,” Patterson said. “We all want to win. It’s dangerous when we all get going.”
Patterson plays a varied role for Team WhyNot, a California-based squad sponsored by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s foundation.

He occasionally runs the point, but can also operate off the ball at either wing position and said his versatility is something college coaches like.

“I’m position-less,” he said. “I look at guys like Giannis (Antetokounmpo), LeBron (James) and (Kevin Durant). Those are the most dangerous guys. You can’t really predict what they’re going to bring. One day I could be a point guard and get my guys involved. The next day I could be a 3 and give you 40 (points). I think that’s the most dangerous thing.”

“Addison, he plays relentless,” Burnett added about his teammate. “He’s a two-way player. He can score on all three levels, and he’s a good teammate to play with.”

Patterson won’t make any decision on reclassifying until the EYBL season is complete in July. He’s got one more session this month (May 24-26 in Dallas) to show off his skill set, and more importantly help Team WhyNot — 5-3 through the first two sessions — qualify for Peach Jam from July 10-14 in North Augusta, S.C. That’s the only other evaluation period on this year’s recruiting calendar where Patterson can play for Team WhyNot in front of college coaches.

“I’m trying to focus on WhyNot and win Peach,” Patterson said. “I’ve got to wait until after Peach until I can reclass. It’s kind of complicated, but that’s still an option.”

Patterson currently has nearly a dozen high-major offers. Three programs, though, have consistently maintained the highest interest.

“Heaviest right now is Oregon, Illinois and USC,” Patterson said. “I’m not saying those are my top. Those are the heaviest on me right now. Illinois made an effort to come to Arizona a lot and come see me at my crib and come see me at my practices.”

Patterson said only Oregon, of those three teams, is currently recruiting him in both the 2019 and 2020 classes. Illinois and USC are both recruiting him as a 2020 prospect. The Illini do have two open scholarships — three counting Bernard Kouma’s yet unclaimed one — and would be able to take Patterson should he reclassify.

“I think it will most likely stay Oregon, USC and Illinois, but I don’t know,” Patterson said about any potential changes to his recruitment should he opt to reclassify. “Any offer that comes in I’ll consider. I’m not closing it off at all.”