By James Gibowski, For the Valley Record
Tyler Patterson was back in town.
And whether he is in Seattle, Bozeman or on any other court, Patterson always has confidence in making shots from “downtown.”
Patterson, a 2020 graduate of Mount Si High School, joined his Montana State University teammates in a Dec. 5 basketball contest against host University of Washington.
The 6-8, 190 junior guard scored 12 points (four 3-pointers) in an 85-61 loss to the Huskies.
“It was a dream come true,” said Patterson about playing on the Husky court in front of family and friends. The Bobcats were also in the Emerald City on Nov. 11 when Seattle University edged MSU, 71-68.
Patterson said he was “lightly recruited” by Washington, but has found playing for MSU the perfect fit for him. “It was somewhere I could play. It’s been a really good situation,” said Patterson, who after eight games this season has been averaging 11.1 points with 3.4 rebounds.
He began starting for the Bobcats even during his freshman year, with his minutes increasing every year since. The past two years, Patterson even got the chance to play in the NCAA tournament after MSU twice won the Big Sky Conference, losing in the first round of the “Big Dance” to Kansas State last year and Texas Tech in 2022.
“I have been blessed to play in college, getting my college education paid for,” said Patterson, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the spring and work on his master’s next year when playing in his final year for MSU.
After his first eight games, Patterson has a 47.8 field goal percentage, with 38.9 percent from the 3-point range for the 3-5 Bobcats. A few weeks ago, he was named Big Sky Co-Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for sinking 20 points two games in a row (and a combined 11 rebounds) against UC Riverside and Long Beach State.
“My coach (Matt Logie) and teammates have a lot of trust in me to take the 3-pointers,” said Patterson. “I’m taking the shots that are allowed to me.”
Patterson started out red hot from beyond the arc against the Huskies, nailing three quick ones. After that he cooled off, but hit another 3-pointer in the second half. Patterson, whose pretty 3-pointers helped Mount Si win the 2020 state 4A high school championship, always has confidence in his long-range shots. He said, for example, if he would ever miss nine in a row, his teammates know they can count on the 10th one finding the net. He also said if he ever catches himself in a dry spell, concentrating on something else like making a pass or playing defense can help him get back his shooting touch.
Montana State lost three key players this season to the transfer portal after their coach Danny Sprinkle became the new coach at Utah State. Sprinkle was replaced at MSU by Logie.
Usually, a new coach has to introduce himself to all his players, but Patterson needed no introduction. Logie already knew the Patterson family because Tyler’s father, Gary, was Logie’s JV coach at Mercer Island High School. Gary Patterson, who coached an eighth-grade Tyler on an elite Friends of Hoop team, played for two state champion basketball teams at Redmond High School, played college at Utah State and later was an assistant coach at San Jose State University.
Logie said Tyler eased his transition to Bozeman by having him as one of his returning starting veterans. “Tyler means a lot to his teammates and to me. He’s one of our vocal leaders,” said Logie, adding, “I’m lucky to have him play for us another year and a half.”
Logie said his goal for Patterson is to have him improve beyond his dead-eye 3-point shot, mixing it up with more rebounds, cutting to the basket, and shooting more free throws. This year, Patterson has
already made roads into hauling down more rebounds. He’s averaging 3.4 boards, compared to little over one a game the past two years.
Patterson also has hauled down one more thing. One bonus for him playing college sports and playing it well is getting financial compensation from the new NCAA-permitted NIL (Name, Image and Likeness). For agreeing to be used in promotion of Kendall Ford of Bozeman, Patterson now has the keys to a new Ford F-150 truck.
Patterson continues to keep in touch with his Mount Si friends, including two of his teammates on the state championship team who are also playing Division 1 college basketball, Jabe Mullins at Washington State University and Hayden Curtis at Portland State University. He also enjoys hearing the latest from his Mount Si coach, Jason Griffiths. Curtis faced Mullins in a 71-61 loss at Pullman on Dec. 2 and Patterson’s Bobcats will travel to Portland State Jan. 27 and host the Vikings on Feb. 22.
Patterson’s brother Quin, who also played on that 2020 state title team, plays for UC San Diego. Big brother Tyler would love if UC San Diego somehow got on the Bobcat schedule next season.
According to Patterson, some of the nice things about being on social media are finding information about other players in the lineage of Mount Si basketball and reading comments sent to him “from people I would never have expected.”
Patterson admits the NBA is probably not a realistic goal, but he would be interested in possibly playing overseas on a team in Europe or Asia. Just like Montana State, teams in foreign countries, too, are always looking out for players with a sweet 3-point shot.