Brooklyn native Danielle Patterson, a graduate of The Mary Louis Academy, was a highly recruited prospect coming out of high school. A McDonald’s All-American, she decided to attend University of Notre Dame, winning an NCAA title in her freshman year. Despite a return trip to the Final Four her sophomore year, she decided to transfer to Indiana University, but opted out of playing in February 2021.
With two years of eligibility remaining, Patterson wanted to find a program where she could flourish, so she decided to return home to New York City and is now playing for St. John’s University. “St. John’s feels very familiar to me,” she said. “They obviously have followed me basically my whole career. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew what I wanted for my last two years.
“I’d been away in Indiana for four years,” she added. “I wanted to finish it closer to home, where my family can come see me. The opportunity was there where I knew I would be able to come in and have a big impact.”
Now settled in, Patterson has been playing some of her best basketball. It’s a thrill to look at the stands at Carnesecca Arena and see people who’ve watched since she started playing hoops. “They can be in the stands whenever they want, cheering me on,” she said. “It’s a full circle moment. I kind of get to write my own ending.”
With players and coaches vaccinated, the season started with such a flourish, but the Omicron variant has put some bumps in the road for college basketball. Several St. John’s games have been canceled or postponed, but Patterson is staying focused. “You have to stay really flexible, and you have to take care of your body,” she said.
Patterson has already completed her bachelor’s degree, so she is pursuing a master’s in sports administration. She’s also able to share with her teammates what it is like to play for a National Championship. This is wonderful preparation for coaching, the career to which she aspires.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned now being a fifth year is you have to do what makes you happy and where you feel you can be the most confident as a player,” Patterson said. “At the end of the day you are the person that is going to go through all that being a student-athlete is. You have to do what benefits you the most when all is said and done.”