By Laura Amato
When Danielle Patterson walked up to the newsstand July 23, her hands were shaking just a little bit.
It was mostly excitement, although The Mary Louis Academy basketball standout will be the first to admit she was a little nervous as well. After all, it’s not every day you’re profiled in a top basketball magazine.
Patterson’s on-court success was featured in SLAM Magazine’s September issue, highlighting a summer that has been nothing short of dominant for the soon-to-be senior.
“It was definitely very cool,” Patterson said. “I was so excited. [They] called and told me that I was going to be one of five girls they wanted to feature throughout the different editions. I finally got the article and flipped to the back and saw myself there. It was absolutely awesome.”
Patterson’s summer may have reached its off-court peak when she finally got her hands on that magazine, but she’s also kept herself pretty busy on the basketball court.
In her first summer with the Westchester Hoopers AAU squad, Patterson has showcased her skills at such tournaments as the Tournament of Champions, the Apache Memorial, the Battle of the Boros and, most recently, the ATL Summer Slam tournament.
While it hasn’t been non-stop success, Patterson is thankful for the ups and downs the team has faced.
“We’ve won some and we’ve lost some, but I think that it hurt when we didn’t have some of the players we were supposed to have,” she said. “But everything is going good now—we’ve got a few key players back. That’s making it all a lot smoother.”
As strange as it may sound, Patterson isn’t solely focused on victories this summer. She wants to win—any good competitor does—but she also wants to take this time to get better. AAU offers her the perfect opportunity to do that.
Patterson has expanded her mid-range game this summer, while still holding her own in the post and crashing the boards.
It also helps that she is rarely off the court.
“AAU gives you so many games and you can keep getting better,” she said. “Even if you have a bad game here or there, you have another chance to make up for it during the next game or the next day because you have so many games in the next week. It’s a great way for college coaches to really look at you.”
Patterson’s college future has long been focused on four schools—Notre Dame, St. John’s, Tennessee and Virginia—and she knows it won’t be long until she has to narrow down that list even more.
She plans to visit Notre Dame and Tennessee in the next few weeks, but before she signs her name on any letter of intent, Patterson is determined to lead Mary Louis to a championship this season.
She might even grab a few more headlines along the way.
“Once AAU is over it kind of gives me a good outlook on what I need to work on going into the high school season,” Patterson said. “It’s really going to push me because I really want to get a championship this year. I’m putting all my focus on that going forward.”