Most games University Nebraska-Omaha Basketball would like to make it a track meet. Getting out and running is what the Mavs have thrived on for most of the season, and no one have been a bigger factor in that than first year transfer and sophomore guard Devin Patterson.
Patterson from Portsmouth, Va. Played junior college basketball for New Mexico Junior College, (the same school that previous UNO recruit and commit Nick Billingsley now plays for).
If the Mavs defensive was a double-engine motor, Mike Rostampour and Patterson would be the pistons.
“My role is to bring energy from the get go, on the offensive and defensive end, especially on the defense. So you can get off to a good start, then I just find the players when they’re open,” Patterson said.
Patterson averages 1.9 steals per game, to go along with 10.3 points and 3.3 assist average, taking on roles outside of just scoring.
“He gets us in and out of our offense, he knows what we want and when we want it, he knows when we want to run a certain possession he knows who’s in the game and who to get it to and when, he does a lot of those things for us as well,” Head coach Derrin Hansen said.
So much of his prowess can be attributed to his athleticism. Listed as 5’11, Patterson is one of the fastest Mav on the court.
“He’s one where if we can keep the ball in front and out of the net, he’s the one who can get us down the floor quickly,” Hansen said. “He’s the one who can get it from point A to B faster than anybody that I’ve had the opportunity to coach, and that’s when we’re at our best. That’s his strengths and when he can play to his strengths we’re at our best.”
The Mavs have a +3.4 turnover margin average and average 1.5 more steals a game than their opponents.
“I think I bring the intensity on the defensive end. I bring energy. Me and Mike pretty much bring the energy, we’re pretty much the guys that holler and get everybody hyped,” Patterson said.
The Mavs have hit a rough patch the last few weeks, losing four straight, including a heartbreaking one-point loss to South Dakota on the road. Between being outsized and just simply out-of-flow the Mavs have not looked like the same team seen earlier in the season, but between fighting the Divison-1 transition and the Summit League grind, the Mavs have two games at home to close the season successfully, giving themselves a chance at an invitational tournament.
UNO will matchup better with these teams in the future. It just takes time.
“We’re still recruiting. We’re still trying to get better. We’re trying to get bigger at each position and as we do that then we will be closer to the teams that are built a little bit differently than us,” Hansen said.
UNO faces IUPUI who they defeated earlier in the season 99-71 and IPFW who the Mavs fell to 86-82. Not only are these two games big in the potential for short term this year, but crucial to ending this season on a good foot after the big step the program has already taken this year.
UNO will take on IUPUI at 7:07 Thursday and IPFW Saturday at 1:00 for Senior Day and the Mavs final game of the season.