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Natural talent: DeKalb's Patrick gaining college interest early

DeKalb's Brittney Patrick surveys her options in the third quarter against Rochelle at DeKalb High School on Friday, December 20, 2013. The Barbs won, 70-39.
DeKalb's Brittney Patrick surveys her options in the third quarter against Rochelle at DeKalb High School on Friday, December 20, 2013. The Barbs won, 70-39.

DeKALB – Brittney Patrick was destined to be a point guard.

Patrick, a DeKalb High sophomore, has been at the “1” ever since she began playing organized basketball back in the third grade.

“It just came to me naturally. Dribbling was easy for me,” Patrick said. “I wasn’t really big. I had to use what I had, what I had was dribbling. It just came natural to me.”

Patrick has been playing like a natural in her second year on the Barbs’ varsity team, using her quickness and passing skills to her advantage.

She’ll be DeKalb’s starting point guard for two more seasons before moving on to the college level. She’s already had interest from numerous Division I schools, including Wichita State, Minnesota, Southern Methodist and Northern Illinois.

“More than I can count,” she said.

Despite being in only her second high school season, Patrick has plenty of seasoning, she hasn’t really played at any other spots on the floor. She was DeKalb’s starter from the start last season and Barbs coach Chris Davenport doesn’t plan on using her anywhere else. Standing at 5 feet, 2 inches, she’s usually been on the undersized end and doesn’t expect to get any taller.

“Some kids, boys and girls, they grow too quick. When you’re young, they throw you in the paint,” Davenport said. “... She hasn’t had to make a transformation to a [different position]. She’s always been the primary ball handler on every team she’s played on.”

During DeKalb’s contests last week against Morris, Rochelle and Chicago Vocational, Davenport said Patrick played the best he’s seen her play all season. DeKalb’s second-year coach said Patrick averaged nearly 10 assists over the three-game span, and committed very few turnovers on top of that.

However, this season, the Barbs have been more dependent on Patrick’s scoring ability. Last season, the Barbs had the benefit of Daily Chronicle Player of the Year and double-digit scorer Rachel Torres at shooting guard.

This season, Davenport has said Patrick needs to have more of a two-guard mentality.

It showed in Friday’s win at Rochelle, with the sophomore knocking down three 3-pointers on her way to 17 points.

Patrick’s father, Will, is an assistant coach for the Kishwaukee College women’s program, and Brittney will go over to Malta two or three times per week during the season for extra shooting work. She’ll take 10 or so shots from a certain area of the floor and then head to a different one.

“I’m getting better at the three, just work more and more on that,” she said. “I’m working more on my pull-up shot, too.”

Patrick will probably be undersized in college, but Davenport said she makes up for it with her strength and speed. Last spring, Patrick ran the anchor leg for DeKalb’s 4x100 relay team and jumped 16 feet, 9.25 inches in the long jump, which placed fourth at sectionals and was a mere four inches shy of a berth in the state meet.

For Patrick and DeKalb, the best is probably yet to come.

“You don’t see many 15-year olds built like her, you don’t see many 18-year olds built like her. And her quickness and everything else is getting better,” Davenport said. “When I coach her, it’s hard to remember she’s a 15-year-old sophomore. She doesn’t turn 16 until March.”

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