RIO RANCHO, N.M. — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company announced last week that David Patterson of Rio Rancho High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade New Mexico Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Patterson is the second Gatorade New Mexico Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Rio Rancho High School; the first was his brother Clay, who won the award in 2016.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Patterson as New Mexico’s best high school boys basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced soon,
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound senior guard had led the Rams to a 20-8 record and into the Class 5A quarterfinals. Patterson averaged 23.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals; he was an All-District and an All-Metro honoree. Patterson has volunteered locally on behalf of a retirement center.
“It’s a great honor,” said Rams coach Wally Salata, who has had four Patterson brothers play for him. “I thought DP had to be on his game every night; when he didn’t play well, we didn’t have a lot of success. And he always got the other team’s best defender.”
“Patterson is a prolific scorer,” said Jim Murphy, head coach at Hope Christian High. “He can also handle the ball, he passes well and he’s very athletic. He’s been a leader for that team and a big part of their success.” (Patterson averaged 28 points against the Huskies in the Rams’ two wins over Murphy’s team this season.)
He led the team in scoring in 19 of its29 games this season, including a game-high 29 in its finale, and had games of 31, 35 and 36 points.
Patterson maintained a 3.37 GPA in the classroom, and he will attend the Air Force Academy this fall, where he will play basketball.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
“DP” also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
Previous RRHS Gatorade basketball players of the year have been female standouts Brio Rode (2001, ’03) and Megan Muniz (2009). Former Ram Ryan Jones, who concluded his prep career at Cleveland High School, won the state award in 2015.