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His road to the dance has a lot of steps

March 12, 2007|Mike Hiserman

David Patten faced some obstacles on his way to the NCAA tournament.

The Placentia El Dorado High graduate started out at Pepperdine, where he played basketball and volleyball, then transferred to Santa Ana College, where he redshirted, then headed off to Ogden, Utah, and Weber State -- only to lose his mother, who passed away three days before the basketball team started practice in October 2004.

For two years, he played for a mostly struggling program, but those days surely seem long ago now.

Patten is the only returning starter from a team that finished last in the Big Sky Conference last season, only to win the league's postseason tournament and a share of its regular-season title this year.

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 14.1 points and 5.5 rebounds overall -- 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds during conference play -- was named conference player of the year, and was MVP of the Big Sky tournament, scoring 22 points in the title game against Northern Arizona.

"I've said it a hundred times," he told reporters after that game, "you come in and you see the character of the coaching staff and the character of these guys, and we knew we could do something special for sure. And we did."

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