June 22, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - You could describe Aisha Patrick (Rockledge, Fla.) as being "thrown into the fire" during her freshman season on the UCF women's basketball team in 2008-09. In her first collegiate season, Patrick started 33 of the team's 34 games at guard while leading the team in minutes at 33.3 minutes per game.
In helping the Knights to a second place finish in Conference USA and a run to the tournament title in the C-USA Championships, Patrick averaged 8.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. The defensive specialist, who was asked to guard the opposition's best player in almost every game, led the team in steals with 75 in 2008-09.
During the run to the C-USA title, Patrick averaged 10 points per game, hitting 18-of-32 shots from the field. Recently, UCFAthletics.com caught up with Patrick for a quick Q & A about how her summer has gone and how she is gearing up for her sophomore season.
What have you been up to this summer?
"Outside of basketball I have just been hanging with [Ashia] Kelly because I went and spent the first part of the summer with her and her family in Texas."
What was it like living in another state for the first time in your life?
"I decided I made the right decision going to school in Florida because I do not think I could have stayed out of the state and away from my family for too much longer. They took really good care of me though and I ate well. That is for sure."
Do you think living with Ashia made you two closer?
"Being with her for a whole month we bonded and formed more of a friendship off the court. Of course she will always be my teammate, but off the court we got a lot closer."
What was the most fun thing you have done this summer?
"One thing we did in Texas is going to this graveyard where they tell you a really scary story. We went one night really late and we were in the car with no lights on and they were telling us a story about a man who had lived there. While we were listening people came and banged on our windshields and I got freaked out."
Do you enjoy working camps during the summer?
"Yeah I like making friendships with the kids. I like making them happy and have fun with them so when they come back they will remember me. It is also pretty cool that they look up to me."
What did you think of your freshman season? Was it what you expected?
"It was what I expected but a lot more. I knew it was going to be a physical game and I knew I was going to be called on for defense. Mentally and physically it is a lot at this level with the lifting weights, the traveling, practicing on the road. I knew I was going to play but not as much as did."
Do you think the team winning the C-USA Championship and going to the NCAA Tournament make you want to work harder to get back there?
"A lot. People doubted us and said we were not going to make it and picked us last. Being from Florida, I know a lot of people here do not look at UCF as one of the top schools. Putting ourselves out there and making it to the NCAA Tournament makes people recognize us a lot more."
What are you hoping to improve on during the offseason?
"I am working a lot on my shot because I didn't shoot that much last year from the outside, and I got yelled at when I did. I am working on my shot as well as my ball handling. I will shoot some threes this year." (Patrick went 0-4 from three a season ago)
What do you think will change for you personally as a sophomore?
"I hope to become more vocal this season. I did not say much last year on the court because I had to learn the system and get to know my teammates. Now I can be more vocal and become more of a leader."