By Laura Amato

Danielle Patterson doesn’t exactly consider herself a crier.

The Mary Louis Academy junior is pretty good at keeping her emotions in check, even on the basketball court. In fact, throughout her standout hoops career, Patterson has done a good job of making sure emotion doesn’t play a part in her success. That changed this spring when Patterson got a very important letter—from Team USA basketball.

Patterson had been invited to Colorado to try out for the Team USA U17 basketball team in May, a weekend that pitted her against some of the best high school talent from around the country.

She shed a tear then.

“They saw me and they thought that I was capable to come and compete,” Patterson said. “I really had to process it for a second and I started crying because it meant so much to me to get that invitation. It really just proved to me that I am that player that they’re looking for.”

Patterson didn’t make the team.

She did, however, advance to the final round of workouts, before the final cut. Still, the TMLA star can’t find it in herself to be disappointed. The experience has already started to influence her game and she knows that those sessions will make her a better player sooner rather than later.

“It motivates me,” said Patterson, who averaged 22 points per game last season. “I learned a lot. I took away a lot. So it really pushes me now to bring that to my high school team and my AAU team to better them. I’m the type of person, no matter how good of a player I am, I want to make the people around me just as good. So I know if I take what they taught me, I’ll bring it back to whoever I’m playing with and it can help.”

The door hasn’t completely shut on a future with Team USA, but right now, Patterson is focused on what’s next—a summer of AAU basketball with the Westchester Hoopers and, most importantly, a college decision.

That, of course, has been as much of a whirlwind as competing with Team USA.

After a junior season that saw nearly 60 schools express interest, Patterson has narrowed down her choices to four programs—Notre Dame, St. John’s, Tennessee and Virginia.

“The schools that I did keep, sitting down with them after watching them watch me from the stands was a bit nervewracking,” Patterson said. “But the schools I picked, I felt a connection with them. I felt I could play in their system. I know definitely what I’m looking for in a school. It just pushes me really hard.”

Patterson is doing her best not to get ahead of herself. She knows what she wants. After all, at 6-foot-3, she can see above just about everyone else. But finding a balance between everything—from Team USA to college options to her final season of high school ball—is easier said than done.

That’s when Patterson takes a deep breath. She might not shed another tear, but Patterson knows how impressive her career has been and she’s not remotely ready to slow down.

“I’m trying to bring a championship to this school,” Patterson said. “I really want to do that before I get ready to leave. To be able to do that for them would be great.”

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