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Dick Vitale names Lamar Patterson a 'Rising Star'

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USA TODAY Sports

We all know that Dick Vitale loves him some Duke and North Carolina. But that didn't stop the ESPN analyst from throwing a little love Pitt's way recently.

Last week, Vitale named his 'All Rising Star Team" and Panther forward Lamar Patterson was one of his six players chosen for the team:

Pittsburgh's Lamar Patterson can do it all -- score, rebound, pass. He was a good player last season, averaging 10 PPG. Now he is a star, baby, scoring almost 18 per contest while leading the Panthers to early success in the ACC. He has improved his shooting and his assists have risen. How many of you had Patterson listed as a key performer prior to this season?

Patterson just continues to garner national attention and it's great to see him get the recognition he deserves. He's really a do-it-all kind of guy for Pitt and things like his rebounding and assists often get overlooked. It's frightening to think where the Panthers would be without him this year.

He definitely fits the category of 'rising star'. He came into the season as a bit of an unknown - at least in terms of if he could become a star or not and is having a career year. He's averaging career-highs pretty much across the board in minutes, points, assists, steals, field goal percentage, three point percentage, and free throw percentage.

To Vitale's point, I think a lot of Pitt fans had him as a key performer ... but for the team. Vitale likely means a key performer among all players in the nation and that's really something none of us could have imagined.

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