When 2011-12 season came to an end with the CBI tournament win against Washington State, then was little doubt who the best player wearing a Pitt uniform was.
That would be junior swingman Lamar Patterson.
Patterson averaged 9.6 points per game last season, but became the team’s go-to player late in the year when he averaged 13.3 per game over the Panthers’ final six games.
But so far this preseason the Lancaster, PA. native has been close to invisible during Pitt’s pair of exhibition games.
It’s no secret that the Panthers could struggle scoring the ball at times this season, but to have Patterson average only 5.5 points per game and come in as their eighth leading scorer is a problem that Jamie Dixon just doesn’t need.
Patterson has the ability to be a productive point-forward for the Panthers this season. He can handle the ball and makes things happen when he has the ball. But for that to happen, he needs the ball in his hands a lot, something that won’t happen as long as the Pitt backcourt is healthy.
Having said that, Patterson must do more with his opportunities.
During the exhibitions against IUP and Hawaii-Hilo, Patterson made only 4-of-13 shots from the floor and knocked down only 1-of-5 attempts from behind the arc. In addition, he had only a pair of assists and turned the ball over three times. that’s a little eye opening considering Patterson led the team last year in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Should Pitt fans be concerned?
Not yet. I don’t make a lot out of preseason stats.
Patterson is a much better shooter then his preseason numbers would suggest.
Things could be different for him initially in terms of not touching the ball as much as he did down the stretch last season, but Patterson is too talented of a player and should adjust to that just fine.
But one thing is for sure and that is the fact that Pitt needs a productive Patterson to be competitive this season. They are a deep team, but Patterson must be one of the better players wearing a Pitt uniform at both ends of the floor.
He gets the opportunity to make an impact Friday night as Pitt begins the regular season against Mount St. Mary’s.
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