Caleb Ecarma, Staff Writer
From Tigerville, S.C., to the National Basketball League, North Greenville University graduate Tyshawn Patterson turned his passion for the sport of basketball into his full-time job.
“You work so hard for something you dream about doing, like being a professional athlete, so once you get that opportunity, you got to have fun with it,” said 24-year-old Patterson, regarding his career currently playing for the NBL’s London Lightning.
Patterson’s passion for the game began on the courts of a recreation center in Hartford, Conn. It’s on those courts that he began to dominate the sport, even at a young age.
“At that time, I was just a step ahead of the competition, I guess I caught on quick because I loved the fact that I was good and that I could get better,” said Patterson.
As the player grew up, he spent countless hours on the court perfecting his game. This hard work resulted in Patterson developing a work ethic on the court and in the classroom, which he attributed as the major key to his success.
“Basketball means the world to me, to be honest, because without basketball, my journey just wouldn’t be the same, especially as I was growing up, always having basketball to lean on was huge because it gave me that outlet that every kid needs,” said Patterson on basketball’s effect in his life.
Following the early stages of Patterson’s career came college ball, where he spent three years playing at the Division-I level for Stetson University in Florida, and one year at the Division-II level for the South Carolina based North Greenville University.
During Patterson’s junior year at Stetson, he had concerns about his role with the program, especially in regard to the uncertain amount of minutes he would receive on the court. He ultimately decided to act on those doubts by transferring to NGU, where he believed he would have a better opportunity, “I had to give myself the best opportunity to be a professional, and coming to NGU was the best thing for me because I just wanted to play basketball,” said Patterson.
While playing within the NGU system, Patterson was able to realize his full offensive potential, as he would end up leading the nation in scoring for a time, and would end the year as one-of-the top three scorers in the country during the 12-13 basketball season.
“Tyshawn was a big difference maker at NGU, a pure scorer and confidence booster for the whole team,” said Coach Josh Milner, the assistant basketball coach at NGU.
Along with scoring, Patterson was able to provide leadership and a smile to the NGU team. “the spirit and positive energy that Tyshawn brought on the court and off the court helped build the moral of his teammates,” added Milner.
While Patterson was only a one-year player at NGU, Milner pointed out that he has been able to help show potential NGU recruits that you can make it to the pro level, even he though came from the Division II level.
Following his career at NGU, Patterson would go on to play professionally in Italy, South Africa, Columbia and now Canada, where he is a member of the National Basketball League’s London Lightning.
“If there was a poster boy for what the National Basketball League of Canada is trying to accomplish, Tyshawn Patterson may be it,” said Morris Costa, a writer for the London Free Press.
“Every team I’ve played for has competitively been level above the previous team I played for, so my pro career has actually gone very smoothly,” said Patterson, who does not plan on stopping his upward momentum, as he will attempt to enter the National Basketball Association in the next three-to-four years.
Aside from his career playing basketball, Patterson spends his off-time coaching kids and training athletes in Orlando, Fla. Once he retires from his professional career, he plans on working as a trainer fulltime.
For Patterson, training is more than just basketball, it’s about teaching young men and women about having self-confidence; a trait Patterson believes many young people struggle with.
“I want kids to realize that it’s not just confidence in basketball that can change your life, it’s confidence in life that can change your life,” concluded Patterson on the message he incorporates into his brand of training.