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Ben Patrick a Steady Presence for BCC Men's Basketball Team
February 27, 2013 - Every successful basketball team needs a player who while not flashy is fundamentally sound; a player who while not spectacular is steady; a player who may not necessarily be the hero but who uses his head and never loses it despite tremendous pressure.
That's the bill freshman Ben Patrick fills for Brevard Community College's men's team that is headed to the Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Division I Region 8 tournament next week.
Patrick, a 6-foot, 3-inch guard from Clearwater, FL, has started 27 of BCC's 30 games to date. While averaging only 4.2 points but leading the team in assists at 4.1 Patrick fulfills the role head coach Jeremy Shulman refers to as the game manager.
And in that role many times he finds himself bringing the ball up court or handling the ball under stifling defensive pressure. But he has stood strong, keeping his turnovers low at 2.2 per game.
"He is so valuable to our team," Shulman said. "He's the quarterback with all the wins but without the statistics. He's Greg McElroy from Alabama's 2009 national championship football team."
Patrick came to BCC from Dunedin High School and Clearwater's Impact Academy and did not get off to a good start, missing the preseason with a left (non-shooting) wrist injury. Once he got himself into playing shape and into the lineup he has been a fixture and certainly a factor in BCC's success.
But basketball is not all Patrick is about. A top-level student he achieved President's List status in the fall semester with a 4.0 grade point average. He also keeps himself in top physical condition and the mental and physical acumen, combined with a burning desire to win, make Patrick a force on the floor.
He also enjoys cooking, spending time with his family in Clearwater — parents Brian and Celia — and his girlfriend.
But when he's at practice or in a game he is all business. After all, he's been playing the game since he was a kid. It's second nature.
"I think with the game and I'm not all about just the highlight plays," he said. "I learned how to play point guard the right way: making the right pass, not necessarily the fanciest play.
"I really believe in having the whole team involved. I think when the whole team is involved your team just does better. That necessarily won't be in the stat sheet."
Patrick credits his dad and his mom — who work in commercial real estate — for being the biggest influences in his life due to their penchant for hard work. And he credits his dad for his basketball development.
And that included attending a camp hosted by Indiana basketball legend Rick Mount which he also credits as being a big part of his repertoire.
"At the age of nine my dad saw an article . . . about one of his childhood heroes . . . Rick Mount," Patrick said. "We flew up to Fort Wayne, IN. I went to his camp. You do nothing but shoot for three days and you basically try to remake your form.
"I try to mold it like (Mount) as much as I could. That's why my form is the way it is. It has a lot of arch. You really sit down on the shot."
That being said, Patrick doesn't take a back seat to anyone in the fiercely competitive two-year college basketball environment where players are striving to be noticed in hopes of gaining playing time and proving themselves as worthy of a scholarship to a four-year school. It is not a game for the faint of heart.
"I just really love the game and I want to win," he said. "You learn when you play basketball long enough, how tough you are on the inside and the outside. It has a lot to do with how often you end up winning."
And BCC did its share, finishing the regular season at 24-6 and winning the conference. But it didn't come easy. The Titans had to win their final four conference games to clinch the title and with the exception of the game at Indian River State which they won 96-82, their final three games were decided by a total of 10 points.
"It was such an amazing stretch we had at the end," Patrick said. "By the time it was over I could hardly celebrate. I was just so relieved. It had been such a stressful last stretch."
But the Titans are the champions and more awaits.
"This is just the toughest team that I've ever been a part of, that just refuses to lose," Patrick said.
Just like the not flashy but fundamentally sound guard.