After spending two seasons as a member of the Syracuse program, guard Ron Patterson is headed back to his home state to complete his college career.
Sunday morning Patterson, who at one point was an Indiana signee, announced via Twitter his decision to transfer to IUPUI. After sitting out the 2015-16 season Patterson will have two seasons of eligibility under IUPUI head coach Jason Gardner.
Patterson played sparingly as a freshman but saw his minutes increase in 2014-15, as he played just under 14 minutes per game for Jim Boeheim’s Orange. Averaging 2.6 points and 1.7 assists per game, Patterson struggled mightily with his perimeter shot.
With a year to hone his skill set, the hope is that Patterson will regain the confidence in his shot that made him a target for multiple high-major programs during his high school years. Patterson didn’t fully qualify at Indiana, which resulted in his spending a season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire before joining the Syracuse program in 2013.
In addition to Patterson the Jaguars have three freshmen joining the program this summer, including 6-foot-2 point guard T.J. Henderson.
Despite not being in the NCAA tournament, Syracuse made news on Thursday.
Hours before Notre Dame and Northeastern tipped to start the Round of 64, Jim Boeheim held a press conference to address the sanctions imposed on his program, the most impactful of which was a loss of 12 scholarships over a four-year period. However, by Thursday afternoon, the Syracuse scholarship situation became a little bit clearer.
Sophomore B.J. Johnson announced he would transfer. Fellow sophomore Ron Patterson did the same shortly after.
Syracuse is graduating Rakeem Christmas this spring and has four commits set to join the program this fall, putting the Orange at the maximum 13 scholarship limit. Matthew Moyer, a 2016 recruit, is also committed to Syracuse and like the four 2015 signees, he too has said he still intends on attending Syracuse.
The 2016-17 season would have been problematic. Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije both graduating would free up two more scholarships, but the Orange would still be one over the limit entering that season. Even if Syracuse had lost Chris McCullough to the 2016 NBA Draft, there still wouldn’t have been room for Moyer.
As Mike Waters of the Post-Standard points out, the departures of Johnson and Patterson make it possible for the Syracuse coaching staff to continue its pursuit of Huntington Prep (West Virginia) 2015 big man Thomas Bryant and 2016 wing Tyus Battle of Gill St. Bernard’s High (New Jersey). In November, Bryant cut his list to Syracuse, Indiana and Missouri. The Orange are one of seven finalists for the services of Battle.
Johnson, the 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 4.2 points and 3.6 boards per game. Ron Patterson, the former Indiana commit, averaged 2.6 points per game. Each logged less than 15 minutes a contest.
Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech was a somewhat frustrating affair for Syracuse despite the fact that they managed to hang on for the 68-66 victory. The Orange shot just 39 percent from the field and 57.1% of their free throws for the game, and they were also outscored by 17 points in the second half.
Trevor Cooney led four Syracuse players in double figures with 18 points but shot just 6-for-21 from the field, and Tyler Roberson (11 points, 17 rebounds) grabbed 17 boards in a game for the second time this season.
But back to the free throws, with one of the offenders being guard Ron Patterson, who made just two of his six attempts with his two misses with 4.3 seconds remaining giving Virginia Tech one last shot at the win (which didn’t fall). Following the game Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim asked Patterson about the free throws, and the response given by the sophomore is one that caught Boeheim off-guard according to Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard.
“Ronnie said ‘Well, it was close,”’ Boeheim said. “I said ‘Close? Really? Close?’ We’re in college here. This isn’t high school. My kids when they were in 8th grade said that. It was close? Close isn’t helpful here. That was the quote of the year for me.”
Patterson sheepishly acknowledged his close comment, but insisted that he thought both of his late free throws were going in the basket.
“I thought it was in,” Patterson said. “It just rattled in and out. That’s all. It looked good. It felt good.”
With Syracuse winning the game Patterson’s response is one they can take some amusement from, but that is an area where the Orange as a team need to get better. On the season the Orange are shooting 66 percent from the foul line, and the fact that they’re in the bottom half of the ACC in free throw rate makes the chances they do get even more important.
Given how competitive the ACC will be, and the fact that Syracuse continues to go through stretches in which they struggle from the field, those foul shots will be important moving forward.