East Tennessee State University men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes and his staff announced on Friday that Vonnie Patterson (Louisville, Ky.) has signed his national letter of intent to play for the Buccaneers starting this upcoming 2019-2020 season.
Patterson, a 6-foot-4 wing, has spent the last two seasons at John A. Logan College – the same program former Buccaneer standout Devontavius Payne attended.
“Vonnie is a highly versatile player who can guard multiple positions,” said Forbes. “He gives us another big wing with the ability to be a shutdown defender. Vonnie played in the same program that produced former Buccaneer Devontavius Payne, and we have a lot of respect for Kyle Smithpeters and his program.”
In his two seasons at John A. Logan, Patterson averaged 13.6 points and 7.6 rebounds, along with shooting 56 percent (306-546) from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc (48-120). Patterson helped guide the Vols to a 53-11 (.828) record, including back-to-back Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC) titles. The Louisville, Ky. native also recorded 18 career double-doubles, which featured a 21-point, 16-rebound effort against Western Kentucky Tech back on Dec. 14, 2017 and a 21-point, 13-rebound game versus Lewis & Clark on Feb. 13, 2019.
Patterson enjoyed the connection he made with the with the coaching staff and players during his visit, and also Coach Forbes’ successful record of developing JUCO players at the Division I level.
”The first thing that stood out to me about ETSU was that Coach Forbes has coached a lot JUCO players and understands the process for their success both on and off the court,” said Patterson. “ETSU showed me the most love throughout my recruiting process. I really felt connected to the coaches and players on my visit, and I also loved the winning culture and facilities.”
This past season, Patterson earned all-conference honors after averaging 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds, while also being forced to guard the opponent’s best player each night. Patterson shot 55 percent from the field and over 40 percent from three, along with totaling 10, 20-plus scoring games, including a 27-point effort (10-of-13 shooting) against Three Rivers on Nov. 6. Patterson also finished this past season with two 25-point games in the Vols’ final three contests – coming against Olney Central College and Wabash Valley College. Against Wabash Valley, Patterson went 7-of-14 from the field and 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
Patterson’s head coach at John A. Logan, Kyle Smithpeters, who also coached Payne, knows the Bucs are getting a strong leader both on and off the court.
“Vonnie is one of the hardest working competitors I have ever coached on the floor and in the classroom,” said Smithpeters, whose team went 27-5 and was ranked No. 5 in the nation this past season. “He has made himself into a matchup nightmare that you can’t keep off the court. He wants to win at everything he does. His leadership on and off the floor is so valuable to a winning program.”
Prior to John A. Logan, Patterson played high school ball at Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky. During his time at Ballard, Patterson led them to the Sweet 16 of the Kentucky State Tournament, while also earning all-tournament team honors.