Pitt's Lamar Patterson off to slow start

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

So it was pretty clear that Lamar Patterson took a step forward last year in his development. Not only did his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers increase significantly due in part to more playing time, but he improved his shooting by ten full percentage points (going fro 34% to 44%) and improved his free throw shooting from 69% to 77%. Patterson, as most kids do over the course of their careers, just became a better player.

This year, though, Patterson isn't taking the next step as was expected.

After an excellent performance in the CBI that garnered him MVP honors, Patterson followed that up with more impressive play in the Greentree Summer League and even led his team to the title. So that meant instant success in the season, right? Sure looked that way - at least to me.

Fast forward to this season, though, and things haven't gone as planned. Instead of looking like the best scoring threat on the team, Patterson is looking more like a role player. Averaging over 23 minutes a game, he's averaging fewer than three points a game after averaging more than three times that last season.

Now, Patterson's defenders will point to the fact that he's averaging 4.3 assists so far, but that's not much more than he averaged last season (with, admittedly, fewer minutes). Also, Patterson's rebounding is down significantly and while he may be setting others up for baskets, I think even he would admit he needs to do more.

Further 'complicating' things is that J.J. Moore is off to a great start off the bench, averaging more than 12 points per contest (good for third on the team) and shooting better than 52% from the field. While I expect Jamie Dixon to keep Moore and his valuable offense on the bench for now, if Patterson isn't able to contribute a bit more offensively, he could see his minutes cut even if he continues to start.

Big week for Patterson as he tries to get on track.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt football and basketball.

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