Zach Patrick is an enthusiastic basketball player that is pursuing a professional playing career at age 29. He has no real playing experience due to many unfortunate experiences but that hasn’t made him give up the dream of being a professional. He is taking part at the 2022 Howard Hoops Germany pro Tour. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his interesting journey.
Thanks Zach for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Just graduated from Lake Erie College with my Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management and Athletic Coaching. Basketball life has shown me that no matter how hard you work and ambitious you are you may not get noticed.
I have interviewed many many guys but I have never come across a player like you that just won’t give up following the dream. You’re 29 and never played in high school or college but still want to play professionally. What has kept you going and remaining positive the last decade?
What has kept me to remain positive or consistent is renting other people’s belief that I have the potential to play Professional. Although I do have confidence in my skill set, there are times where I felt discouraged after attending opportunities and not reaching the end result I was looking for.
The chances of becoming a pro so late and not having any real experience is a reach. I can imagine there are people that don’t understand you. Have you had support from family and friends over the years?
My mom growing up always would preach to me to surround people who will lift me up. As I’ve gotten older I have built a stable support system. I have family and friends that support my ambition, yes.
How have you made a living in the last decade while staying in shape and working on your basketball skills? How has your life been?
I just worked to save money to be able to travel to my next opportunity while still going to school. I have always been big into fitness and really pushing to stay in healthy physical shape. At times it has been tough to consistently get to the gym while I was in college because I was working a part-time job on top of going to school full-time while trying to train. My life in the past decade has been a bit frustrating or stressful because I struggled being in the classroom because I wanted to be on the basketball court doing what I am so passionate about. I have always felt I could turn pro with just the right timing and luck within the situation.
Talk a little why you didn’t play in high school. You could have played but you walked out of try-outs and then didn’t play senior year. Do you sometimes wonder how your career might have gone and where you would be today had you not walked out?
Walking out goes back to my middle school days. 7th Grade- I tried out and was so nervous that I couldn’t even handle the ball so I got cut. 8th Grade- I felt I did a little better in the drills and scrimmage but still ended up getting cut from the team. 9th Grade- I felt like I got screwed and even some of my teammates had agreed that I should have made the team instead of another player. 10th Grade- I felt that I had done well and that I had a good enough chance to make the team and still didn’t make the team. I felt like a roster spot was taken from me. 11th grade- I was in the gym all the time. I would always be the first to open gyms and the last to leave. I would do ladders, suicides or even run outside with a weight vest to help myself prepare for the season . I would do all of this on top of the additional running we would do in the open gyms. Tryouts would officially start after several months of conditioning. I was doing a drill and thought I was performing poorly. I had flashbacks of my past experiences and felt if I am playing as poorly as this, there is no way I am going to make the team and I walked out. I almost constantly as I am working out and preparing for my name to be called it almost runs through my head constantly walking out of tryouts my junior year in high school. I have always wondered where my career might have gone had I not done that.
How important is high school basketball in the development of a player? What do you believe you miss out most on?
Playing high school basketball can definitely help you gain exposure to play at the college level. I missed out on playing at one of the biggest or well known high schools in Division I basketball in the State of Ohio.
In college you had the opportunity to play again, but didn’t. You got cut freshman year and then transferred and had no more college eligibility. Talk about how stressful this time was?
It was hard to not play as much as I wanted to. I had a lot of personal responsibilities I had to take care of also that had a play why I had stopped. It was frustrating and stressful because I deep down wanted to play. An old friend once told me that if you’re good enough to play they will eventually find you.
Would it be fair to say the world never saw your potential and talent due to bad timing and bad luck?
Yes, I think so. Although, life teaches you how to deal with adversity. Some things in life are going to take more time than others. Just have to be patient and go for the ride!
I got in contact with Ronald Howardd by networking on Facebook. I saw his profile and credentials then reached out to him.
How blessed are you for this opportunity. The Howard Hoops tour has given many guys that had no basketball futures a future. How confident are you that you will have success?
I am thankful and appreciative for the opportunity. I am quite confident that I will have success as long as I play well and show what I can do the best.
How did you learn to appreciate Ronald Howardd the most? What have you respected most about his character?
I learned to appreciate Ronald Howardd through his understanding and patience. I have been talking to Ronald Howardd on/off for the past year or two. I had wanted to go to the HoopTour last year but I had to back out. I had to take care of my schooling first. I had promised my paps (grandpa) I would finish school so I stayed home to finish but didn’t quite finish in time before he passed away. I appreciated Ronald Howardd the most with his understanding of my priorities at the time. I needed to finish a chapter in my life to give this opportunity the best chance to start my pro career.
Let’s talk about your game. What kind of a player are you and what are your biggest strengths on the court?
I am a 3PT specialist! I am a player that knows his talent but is willing to give up the ball if need be. I can communicate on the floor well, I can read the floor Offensively or Defensively, pass well, encourage my teammates and most importantly help my team WIN.
Despite not having played competitively much, how do you feel your game has developed over time?
Always wanting to learn more within the game and being open-minded to coaches and other players’ criticism.
On what areas of your game are you working on most so you can continue to improve your game?
I am trying to keep my game IQ sharp, trying to make my shot more consistent, conditioning as best as I can and trying to gain versatility on the floor offensively and not be afraid to put the ball on the floor to make a play.
Who is the best player that you ever played against on a playground or other place that reached the NBA?
Delonte West- Cavs Camp
Larry Hughes- Cavs Camp
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
PossiblyMichael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Stephen Curry
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
My personal opinion is it’s tough to compare two different players who played in different eras. Both players have played against different kinds of players. The game during Michael Jordan’s career is not the same as today. It’s hard to say in a way who is the best all-time but if I had to pick probably Michael Jordan due to his will of wanting to win.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
I haven’t seen the movie. I couldn’t tell ya!
Thanks Zach for the chat.