Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 23, 2013

JUNIOR COLLEGE BASKETBALL: The Valley's little general

Patton doesn’t let her size get in the way of her athletic ability

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

ATHENS — Three out of four high school state titles.

A spot on the No. 1 team in the nation.

A player fighting for a regional title and a seventh national title.

That is the early resume for 5-4 freshman guard Roddricka Patton.

“I mean it has been a blessing from God coming from one winning team to another winning team,” Patton said. “I have also had the chance to come from a great coaching staff to another great coaching staff which has been a blessing.”

The winning team Patton is talking about is the Neches Lady Tigers, who won their state titles during Patton’s sophomore-senior seasons.

Her high school coach Andy Snider said Patton was always the spark plug he needed on the court during key stretches of ballgames.

“She was one that could put 100-percent on the floor,” Snider said. “She was a floor leader and I could bring her back now and the girls' would respond to her. She had a lot of leadership and always led by example.”

TVCC coach Elena Lovato knew she had a solid player when Patton signed to play for her program.

“From the moment I met her and her family, I knew that I was signing a winner,” Lovato said. “With her having won three state championships, it was something that I knew I wanted. She has been an X-factor for the team because every time she is on the court she gives me 100-percent.”

Patton said she finds it interesting when opposing teams change their defensive pressure because they are not focusing on her.

“They will think that I am too little for this level and once I get started playing they will realize that she has a lot of heart,” Patton said. “Opposing teams start finding out that she is a player that we have got to focus on more.”

Lovato said coaching from the sidelines, she has started to notice teams changing their philosophy during the game.

“You can see the frustration because early on she was a defensive specialist and now opposing teams point guards are having to stay put on her more than before,” Lovato said. “They have to make sure they know when No. 4 is on the court during the game.”

Patton said Snider helped her game tremendously early on because he believed in her game and wanted to gain confidence each and every game this season.

“He (Snider) helped us to focus on self confidence and being a leader and a role model,” Patton said. “He wanted us to believe in ourselves and know that we could get somewhere in life.”

Snider said he is pleased to see the growth of her as a player and how she made the transition to the next level.

“It is awesome to see that she can be a great player at the next level and coming from a small town a lot of people still respect her as a player,” Snider said. “It solidifies that she can make it to that level and be a benefit from a small school.”

With her 5-4 size, opposing coaches do not focus on her being a shooter during ballgames.

He (Snider) helped me build my shot up a little more,” Patton said. “He was saying that I would be a guard or a a shooting guard in college because I was too small to be everywhere else.”

Patton: “Coach Lovato and Coach Kalhoff have meant everything to me. Coach Lovato has built my confidence up since the first time I got here because I was so nervous. Coach Kalhoff has helped me with my shot and Coach Gerald (Ewing) has helped me a lot.”

For Patton, the future is definitely looking up as she looks to lead the Lady Cards to another national title.