Patterson joined the Wildcats after earning the honor of Mr. Basketball in the state of West Virginia and was a Parade and McDonald's All-American. Patterson was the perfect big-time player to help begin a new era in Kentucky basketball. Patterson had an immediate impact on the Kentucky team and quickly showed his future NBA skills. Unfortunately, the team's success under Billy Gillispie didn't live up to what UK fans and Patterson himself had hoped. While he had the ability to go into the NBA Draft, Patterson instead chose to stick around for his junior season under the leadership of John Calipari in hopes of bringing a National Championship back to Kentucky on his watch. That commitment to UK and his outstanding play and team leadership have placed Patterson firmly in a place of permanent admiration among the Wildcat Nation. Patterson definitely placed his claim on the number 54 at Kentucky.
Prior to Patterson donning the number 54, it was the property of center Melvin Turpin. Turpin is most famous for being a member of the famed "Twin Towers" with teammate Sam Bowie in the mid 1980's. The "Big Dipper" helped lead the Wildcats to the Final Four in 1984. The 6'-11", 240 pound center earned All-American and All-SEC honors in his junior and senior seasons. Prior to Patrick Patterson, the number 54 was a definite reminder of the exploits of Turpin as a Kentucky Wildcat.
Other Wildcats who have worn the number 54 include Howard Dardeen, Don Mills, Larry Lentz, Art Laib, Tom Payne and Dan Hill.