Much like some college seniors, who chose to take advantage of a bonus fifth year of eligibility from the NCAA, high school seniors also had a unique opportunity. Some got a head start to their college careers by graduating high school and enrolling early to start the next chapter of their basketball journeys.
It’s a unique circumstance, one that stems from the impact of COVID-19 on sports.
With his high school basketball season limited and even uncertain for a while, Trey Patterson opted to take advantage of the opportunity and arrive in time for Villanova’s spring semester.
He was the top-ranked prospect in Villanova’s loaded 2021 recruiting class.
With a crowded rotation and Jay Wright’s affinity for easing in newcomers and relying on veterans, Patterson unsurprisingly didn’t play much.
Most of his development and growth took place behind the closed doors of the practice gym or in the weight room getting Shack Fit. After all, it was more about getting acclimated into college life, Villanova’s program, learning the concepts, and getting a head start in growing as a college player.
Wright felt that Patterson was “pretty impressive” and that “he’s picking up things pretty quickly,” which were all positive signs.
He appeared in just two games and logged three minutes for the entire season. He dished out an assist during two minutes of playing time in a lopsided win over St. John’s on Feb. 23. Then, he made a brief appearance in the win over North Texas in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32.
By the time the 2021-22 season tips off, Patterson will already have had a full semester of college, plus a complete offseason and preseason to grow in Villanova’s program.
He’ll be months ahead of his future classmates, when the rest of the incoming freshmen arrive over the summer. Although he didn’t play much, he should be in a much better place to contribute next season.
It’s hard to say exactly how much he’ll contribute this early on, since there were only a couple of glimpses of Patterson this season, but frontcourt minutes will be needed next year. He’s likely to have a bigger place in the rotation and show how much he’s soaked in since January.