- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Earlier this week, Indiana announced that incoming freshman Ron Patterson, one of five members of the Hoosiers’ 11th-ranking 2012 class, would not attend the school this fall. Sources confirmed to ESPN.com a report by Inside The Hall that Patterson had failed to meet the school’s -- and not the NCAA’s -- academic requirements. Patterson’s test scores and high school grades were good enough to qualify him, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times’s Dustin Dopirak, but a tough summer semester led to an IU faculty council’s decision that Patterson would not be admitted to Indiana this year.
Indiana coach Tom Crean released a statement wishing Patterson well and promising to be “supportive” whether Patterson chose to attend a one-year prep school or picked a different four-year college as his ultimate destination.
Spoiler alert: There are plenty of schools ready to take Patterson on.
According to the Indianapolis Star’s Kyle Neddenriep, Patterson’s AAU coach Chris Hawkins said Thursday that at least 16 schools have reached out with interest in Patterson’s services, including Purdue, Louisville, Missouri, Ohio State, Illinois, IUPUI, Memphis, Providence, Villanova, Xavier, Lamar, Southern Miss, Wright State, Dayton, Nevada and Florida Gulf Coast. If he does decide to forgo a four-year college this season, and instead takes the prep school route, Hawkins said the only school Patterson had considered thus far was private New Hampshire boarding school Brewster Academy.
Hawkins told Neddenriep a decision on which route Patterson will take -- if not the exact college he could choose -- will be made sometime Friday.
It’s hardly surprising to see widespread interest in Patterson. He is the No. 25-ranked shooting guard in the class of 2012, who turned down DePaul, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio State before choosing Indiana. And it’s not as if he was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA. Many coaches, looking from the outside in, may perceive Patterson’s departure to be as much about Indiana’s previously intractable scholarship crunch -- his departure got Indiana within the 13 scholarship limit -- as with his ability to get ready for his first full year of college-level academics. Whether right or wrong, such coaches may see Patterson as fully capable of a quick academic turnaround, and will use all the academic staff on campus to help him get there.
In the end, it will depend on what Patterson is looking for from his first year of college hoops. If he wants playing time, he may be better off choosing a school that needs immediate backcourt help. But that would have been an unlikely outcome at Indiana. The Hoosiers will have guards Jordan Hulls, Yogi Ferrell, Victor Oladipo, and Maurice Creek, and small forwards Christian Watford, Jeremy Hollowell and Will Sheehey all competing for spots in a crowded perimeter rotation; that lineup would have been difficult for Patterson to crack. If Patterson was cool with that, and is willing to wait to get in an Indiana uniform anyway, maybe prep school and a delayed return to Bloomington makes the most sense.
In either case, the kid has options. Never underestimate the willingness of college basketball coaches to offer talented players a second chance. Stay tuned.