By Joseph Staszewski
One of New York City’s best girls’ basketball players is coming to Queens.
Medgar Evers sophomore wing Danielle Patterson said last weekend she will be transferring to Mary Louis this fall. She is arguably the best player in her class in the city. Patterson has scholarship interest from a host of Division I schools, including UConn. Huskies coach Geno Auriemma came to watch Patterson play for the Cougars this season.
Patterson’s father, Lamont, said the family sat down after the season to discuss whether they wanted her to return to Medgar Evers or move on to a new situation. The family decided it wants to expose Patterson to playing against, what in their opinion is, better competition than what she saw in the PSAL. She will also switch travel ball teams from the Philly Belles to the New Jersey Sparks.
“I want her to play against better talent,” Lamont Patterson said. “I wanted her to play against better competition.”
Suiting up for coach JoAnn Arbitello-Pinnock at Mary Louis in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens was a step up, according to Patterson. Brooklyn/Queens is considered one of the most competitive leagues in the country and has produced four McDonald’s All-Americans in the last five years.
“I have known coach Arbitello for a while and I like her coaching style,” Patterson said. “I said, you know what, wewill give it a shot and give it a try.
He was happy with the academics at Mary Louis which he stressed were more important than hoops, and liked that idea it was an all-girls school. Mary Louis was a school Danielle Patterson considered before enrolling in Medgar Evers. She will be able to play right away for the Hilltoppers because of the league’s updated transfer rules that no longer require a change of address from a student-athlete coming from a New York City public school.
“I think that we will be a good team with her,” Arbitello-Pinnock said. “She is a nice addition, a really nice kid. Something that wasn’t expected, but definitely something that we can use.”
Patterson insisted that Medgar Evers’ lack of success during his daughter’s two seasons there was not a factor. The Cougars went 8-23 in league play and did not win a playoff game. Patterson averaged 16.5 points and 6.9 rebounds. Medgar Evers coach Mike Toro declined comment.
“We don’t chase winning situations,” Patterson said. “We never have chased winning situations and being at Medgar Evers the last couple of years proves that.”
His daughter joins a Mary Louis team on the cusp of being a real contender for a diocesan title. The Hilltoppers lost to champions Christ the King 61-59 in the semifinals and lose just one starter in wing Kadijah Dickson.
The Hilltoppers feature one of the city’s best guards in Jasmine Brunson. Arbitello-Pinnock declined to comment when asked if the addition was something that had been in the works, but was excited to hear Patterson would be joining her roster.
“It helps fill the void,” she said.
Patterson said his daughter is excited for the opportunity ahead of her. She thanked her former school on Twitter shortly after the news of her departure broke.
“To the staff, my coaches, my teammates and the students at MECPS, I thank you and I’m going to miss you guys,” Danielle Patterson wrote. “Wish you the best.”