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.
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.
"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."