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Quez heads to Nanjing PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 August 2017 07:37


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Nanjing, China lies along the Yangtze River and has a population of more than 8 million. Marquez Patterson has signed a deal to play for the professional basketball team in Nanjing. Courtesy photo

Patterson chases basketball dream to China

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

Ten years ago, Marquez Patterson took an inbounds pass with 4.2 seconds to play and went coast to coast in The Big House, to score a game-winning shot. Today, he is headed for China to continue his chase for a spot in the NBA.

His friends call him Quez, and one word becomes a refrain about him — talented.alt

Whether it is his prowess on the basketball court, singing or playing an instrument in church, Quez performs at a high level, and that passion has led him to become a professional basketball player in China.

I will be playing for the Nanjing, China Don Bolon professional basketball team,” he said. “It’s like their NBA. If you do real good, you get a chance to go to the NBA.”

That’s a dream Quez has been chasing from the time he could pick up a basketball.

Quez played on traveling teams around Liberal when he was in grade school, and he continued to shine as a Redskin.

He was one of only a few who ever made the transition from Liberal High School to Seward County and was a contributor.

After his days at Seward, Quez chased his dream to a tryout in Houston for a non-NBA pro team, but the organization folded before playing a game, and Quez found himself out of basketball.

“After Seward I tried out for  team in Houston,” he said. “They decided to not have a team. That let me down.”

Believing that his shot to play basketball was over, Quez returned to Liberal to help his grandparents.

But Quez went to Hutchinson to play in a tournament, and he came up huge.

“Before Salina, I went to a tournament in Hutch, and the Salina head coach was refereeing games,” Quez said. “I put up 57 points, turned around and put up 45, then 48. He called me down out of the stands and asked if I wanted to play for Salina, and I took it.”

Most of the players were close to Salina, but Quez was four hours away.

But Quez made the move to Wichita and drove to practice every day to Salina where he made his move.

“I didn’t have any connections,” Quez said. “But God opened up a door to have a team here, and I took that shot. I left Liberal, and I’ve been blessed.”

Playing for the Salina Saints gave Quez a new sense of hope, and picking up the basketball in the gym was like riding a bike for the shooting guard.

“After being out a couple of years, I don’t think I missed a touch,” Quez said. “I had new hope. I thought basketball was over. I went to Salina, made the team, and had a fantastic year for the Saints. We went undefeated and won our conference. I was the leading scorer.”

Quez earned a check for each game, and while it wasn’t much, it was a sacrifice he was willing to make to chase the dream.

Along the way, he met Brittanie Gardner, and the two became engaged two weeks ago.

While the wedding won’t take place until next spring, Quez will head to China for the upcoming season before returning for his bride.

“We are going to get married April 28, which I get back in March,” he said. “They are taking it good. My fiance and I sat down and talked it over. She is behind me 100 percent. She wants me to follow my dreams and has been very supportive. It’s a good opportunity, it’s good financially for my family. I have to make sure my family eats.”

While Quez will continue to showcase his skills handling the ball and being a scoring threat, his goal is to reach the largest stage for basketball on the planet — the NBA.

“My plan is to go there and play ball like I know how and try to get that 10-day NBA contract,” he said. “I’ve been signed to a one-year contract in China. They can renew after a year, or I could get moved to another team. Hopefully NBA signs me to a contract.”

Quez will be part of a team that is looking to turn a corner. Nanjing has not seen a lot of success on the court.

But Quez could change their fortune.

“I’m a shooting guard, but when I go to China, I prefer to run point guard,” he said. “They were last in their league, lost virtually every game. My goal is to get better. I’ve been training. I want to go in and put up numbers, get the team and get used to the system. I thought basketball was over, but I kept my faith, kept grinding, believing and praying, and trusting I would get another shot. God gave me one more shot.”

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Marquez Patterson puts up a shot in a summer MAYB tournament in Liberal in 2007. Patterson has continued to chase his dream of playing for the NBA, and his pursuit has led him all the way to China where he will play professionally in Nanjing, a Chinese community as large as New York City. L&T file photo/Earl Watt

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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