Pattman '07 quits basketball team

by Ben Zimmerman | 12/11/04 6:00am

WEB UPDATE, Dec. 11, 1:09 a.m.

In a decision that is likely to affect Dartmouth athletics for years to come, Leon Pattman '07 has quit the Big Green men's basketball team.

Only nine months earlier, the 6-foot-2 lefty from Memphis, Tennessee was named Ivy League rookie of the year, averaging 13.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game despite a painful groin injury toward the season's end.

One of the few bright spots in a season marred by the firing of 13-year head coach Dave Faucher, Pattman was a burst of excitement for the 3-25 Big Green.

Armed with a smooth 15-foot jump shot that easily extends beyond the three-point line, Pattman quickly distinguished himself as the College's most dynamic scorer. With every passing game his numbers rose, culminating in back-to-back 29-point performances against the University of Vermont and Hartford.

Ironically, it was a recent game against Hartford that may have convinced Pattman to prematurely end his season. In a 79-59 Dartmouth loss, the Big Green sophomore logged only seven minutes.

Though first-year head coach Terry Dunn denied claims that Pattman's playing time contributed to his decision to quit the following morning, Dunn did admit that the strain of adjusting to new management lay at the heart of the matter.

Whatever the reason, the move took many completely off-guard, including Pattman's own teammates.

"Leon's decision to leave the Dartmouth basketball family was a surprise to our team," co-captain David Gardner '05 said. "We wish him luck with his future pursuits. As a team, our focus remains on this week's games."

From all outward appearances, the Big Green took Gardner's words to heart, comfortably defeating the Division III Keene State Owls 72-56. However, today Dartmouth -- currently holding a 2-3 record -- invites the University of New Hampshire Wildcats to Leede Arena.

UNH, which took last year's meeting by 11, currently stands at 4-3 and marks a significant upgrade over Keene State.

If the Big Green find a way to handle the Wildcats, life without Leon may not be all that bad.