Life after Creighton: Justin Patton ready to enter the NBA Draft

On April 5, 2017, Justin Patton made a life changing decision: entering the 2017 NBA Draft instead of continuing his career at Creighton. That decision can weigh a lot on a young man's conscious, especially knowing he's leaving behind his hometown team that took a chance on him when he was just a tall, lanky kid from Omaha.

"Creighton is probably the best thing to happen to me since being born," Patton said. "I really owe it to everyone in Omaha. Everyone's been helping me. It's like a big community that are all helping me to get to where I am today. Once I get there, I'll always pay my respects to Omaha and tell them 'thank you'."

For a 20 year old, an NBA rookie contract is a lot of money, but Patton isn't concerned with material items. He said the first thing he wants to do with his money is take care of his family.

"Obviously I have to find a place to live," Patton said. "That's really about it. I have a car, I have everything I need, but I want to take care of my mom too, so whatever she wants, she has it."

Not knowing what city you will be living in can be a stressful thing for anyone to deal with. Patton has held workouts with a plethora of NBA teams including Portland, Denver, Charlotte, Detroit and Atlanta, and said he will probably have a few trips scheduled to Milwaukee and Miami in the near future. 

However, Patton said he's not losing much sleep over it.

"I've been sleeping well knowing that I'll be a wealthy guy," Patton said.

The most recent NBA Mock Drafts have Patton going as high as No. 15 to the Portland Trail Blazers, and as low as No. 22 to the Brooklyn Nets.

According to Spotrac.com, Patton could receive as much as a two year, $5,173,440 deal if he was drafted at No. 15 by the Blazers, and a two year, $3,747,840 contract from the Nets at No. 22. 
 
Patton said at this point, he trusts the process. For the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year who averaged 12.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg the talent, and the high ceiling, is already there. He said he's more worried about finding the right fit as opposed to how early he's drafted.
 
"I've just got to stay consistent and work on my game and I'll end up where I end up," Patton said. "With me it's not really how high I go, it's really the right situation. So I'm just working hard and making sure I enter the right team and everything goes good from there."
 
No matter what happens in the draft, Patton said he will never forget the people he's met and the time he's spent in Omaha.

"It's been great. I've met a lot of great people who I know will be in my life forever, really," Patton said. "It's been life changing just being in the community and just being around a lot of selfless people who put everyone else before them. It's made me a better person and also a better basketball player."
 
The 2017 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN.
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