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West Sacramento News-Ledger

David Patrick introduced as new Sac State men's basketball coach

Apr 15, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Shaun Holkko, sports editor

Sac State men's basketball coach David Patrick poses for a photo with a Hornets jersey after being introduced as the team's new head coach on Tuesday, April 12 at the Hornet Athletic Center in Sacramento. Photo courtesy of Bob Solorio/Sacramento State Athletics

David Patrick introduced as new Sac State men's basketball coach [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – Journeyman coach David Patrick was introduced as the new Sacramento State men’s basketball coach on Tuesday afternoon at the Hornet Athletic Center.

Patrick is the 15th head coach in program history. He most recently served as the associate head coach for the men’s basketball team at the University of Oklahoma last season.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Patrick said Tuesday at his introductory press conference. “(My family and I) have always wanted to come back to California in the right situation. I was in a good spot at Oklahoma (and) had no reason to leave unless it was for a great opportunity. When you see Sac State after being in NorCal for a long time, I just thought it was somewhere that was untouched, somewhere that could really blossom.”

Patrick takes over for interim coach Brandon Laird, who stepped in for Brian Katz after he retired days before last season began following 13 seasons due to a health issue. The Hornets won five of their last seven games to end the season and had 11 total wins, the most wins for any first-year Sac State head coach in the Division I era. Laird spent 11 years with the Hornets program.

According to a report from The State Hornet, the student news organization at Sac State, Laird and Katz were unhappy with the mishandling of the coaching staff’s departure by the Sac State Athletics Department.

Sac State Athletic Director Mark Orr has known Patrick for years, dating back to their days together at Saint Mary’s College. Patrick served as an associate head coach for the men’s basketball team from 2006-2010 while Orr was Director of Athletics and Recreation.

“The previous staff left great character here, that’s where it starts at,” Patrick said. “The talent is one thing but high character kids is what you want to be around. I can get the players, that’s not the hard part. It’s the character, it’s guys that wanna win and guys that wanna win at a high level. And we’ll do that here, I promise you that.

“We’re going to recruit from the inside out. We’ll recruit here locally and then build out from nationally and internationally.”

It didn’t take long for Patrick to get started recruiting from the NCAA transfer portal.

On Monday, he signed 6-foot-9 Australian forward Hunter Marks, a three-year starter who is transferring from Hartford. Several college basketball reporters were surprised Marks signed with the Hornets rather than a high-major school, indicating that the new Sac State coach got a steal of a prospect. Four days later Patrick reunited with Callum McRae, a 7-foot-1 Kiwi center who is transferring from UC Riverside.

Patrick brings many years of college coaching experience at several different stops with him to Sacramento. Since 2006 when Patrick retired from his playing career overseas, he has been an assistant coach at six collegiate programs.

In 2018, he got his first head coaching job at UC Riverside, where he spent two seasons. Patrick made an impact in his short stint with the Highlanders, as he currently holds the best two-year start in school history with a 27-38 (.415) record. In his second season at UCR, he led the team to a 17-15 record, which is the most wins in the program’s Division I era.

“This isn’t a steppingstone job for me,” Patrick said. “I’ve got two girls that are (in) tenth grade and sixth grade, we’re not trying to jump spots. If you look at my resume, I’ve kind of moved a little bit the last year or two but that’s not what we’re about. We’re about staying somewhere and staying here to make it last.”

With his experience, Patrick has brought in some great players over the years. He has recruited 19 players who have gone on to play professionally with 11 of them playing in the NBA. Seven of those players were selected in the NBA Draft and four were first round picks.

In 2016 while Patrick was at LSU, his godson Ben Simmons was selected with the first overall pick in the draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons has gone on to become the 2018 Rookie of the Year, a three-time All-Star and has been selected to the All-Defensive First Team twice during four seasons in the league.

"I am so excited for coach Patrick to take on the role as head coach at Sacramento State,” Simmons said in a Sac State news release. “He is one of the most underrated coaches and recruiters in the country. When I went through the recruiting process, there was never a doubt that I wanted to be coached by him. He is more than a coach, he is family. He cares deeply about his players, not only as it relates to basketball, but also life.”

Other current NBA players that Patrick has coached include Desmond Bane of the Memphis Grizzlies, Moses Moody of the Golden State Warriors and Patty Mills of the Brooklyn Nets. The 46-year-old Patrick has coached on five NCAA Tournament teams, four NIT teams and was an assistant coach on the Australian men’s national basketball team that won bronze at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

“I think if you win in the classroom, you win on the floor,” Patrick said. “This degree will help you longer in life because the ball is going to stop bouncing at some point. And this is a lifelong deal with me. I want to be at their weddings, when they have children, this is about a life term relationship, not just the four years that I’m going to be with these student-athletes.”

Patrick said that he is going to rely on his older players and prioritize playing defense and rebounding.

“Everybody wants to shoot and play offense,” Patrick said. “But they’ll tell you the first day of practice every morning we’re starting with bricks and getting after it. I promise you we’ll be one of the best defensive and rebounding teams not only in the Big Sky (Conference) but in the country, I guarantee that.”

The new Sac State men’s basketball coach addressed the size of the Nest at his introductory press conference. The 1,012 seat multi-purpose gymnasium that the Hornets play in is one the oldest and smallest venues in all of NCAA Division I college basketball.

“The gym doesn’t matter, it’s the people,” Patrick said. “If you’re going somewhere for just the gym, you ain’t going for the right reasons. (If we) get a real trust and relationship with these student-athletes, it doesn’t matter where they play at.”

Patrick will now attempt to do something that no Sac State basketball team, men’s or women’s, has ever done: Win a Big Sky Conference Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

“People say, ‘Why Sac State? Why would you take (the) Sac State (head coaching position)? You’re at a Power Five job.’ But I see this place being somewhere you can compete for Big Sky Championships yearly,” Patrick said. “I promise you we’ll win a lot of games here over at Sac State.”