For Danielle Patterson, two words never sounded so sweet: Welcome home!
Patterson starred on the basketball court for The Mary Louis Academy (TMLA), Jamaica Estates, not too long ago en route to being selected as a McDonald’s High School All-American. Though her hoops journey has led her all over the country, she’s now back in Queens after having transferred to St. John’s University, Jamaica.
From her days playing Catholic Youth Organization basketball at St. Mary Gate of Heaven, Ozone Park, Patterson knew she’d have a future on the court. The Brooklyn native spent two years at Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, Crown Heights, before enrolling at TMLA.
For the Hilltoppers, Patterson, a forward/center, was simply dominant. As a junior in 2015-2016, she was named a Tablet All-Star after averaging 22 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game. The following season as a senior team captain, she averaged a double-double with 23.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game.
Patterson’s stellar senior campaign ended with her being named the first All-American in TMLA history. She also was named to The Tablet All-Star team for a second straight year, as well as a 2017 Jordan Brand Classic All-American. With Patterson leading the way, TMLA won the 2017 GCHSAA ‘AA’ diocesan and city championships and went on to bring home the first-ever state ‘AA’ title in school history.
When it came time to make a college decision, Patterson narrowed down the field to four options: the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; the University of Notre Dame, Ind.; and St. John’s. She chose Notre Dame.
Patterson appeared in 33 games as a freshman for the Fighting Irish squad that won the 2018 NCAA Division I national championship over Mississippi State, Starkville. The team returned to the national championship game the following season, falling to Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
The past two seasons, Patterson played at Indiana University, Bloomington. She opted out of the past season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that as a graduate student she will still have two years left of NCAA eligibility for the Red Storm women’s team.
“I never would have thought that I would have ended up back here in New York at St. John’s,” Patterson said. “To be home again — while also having some college experience under my belt — I’m super excited for it. I’m trying to bring the experience I’ve had both at Notre Dame and Indiana to my teammates here.”
This summer, Patterson has been solely focused on improving her game to get ready for some competitive Big East basketball action. She is working on being a good teammate as well as a vocal leader on the court both offensively and defensively.
In what is the epitome of a full circle journey, Patterson passes right by her TMLA high school gym when going to St. John’s practice every day. She is hoping to build upon her time as a leader for the Hilltoppers to help the Johnnies play their best.
“It’s a new beginning for me, and I truly feel that God wanted me here,” she said. “I couldn’t have planned this any other way.”
Patterson already has plenty of great hoops memories in Queens, and now she has two years left at St. John’s to make a few more.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.