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Grandfather’s NBA career behind Shea Patterson’s unusual jersey number

Shea Patterson
Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports

How did the NBA’s Detroit Pistons influence the look of the Ole Miss offense? Rebels quarterback Shea Patterson has the answer.

Patterson discussed how his unconventional jersey number pays tribute to his grandfather in an interview with Gridiron Now’s Frank Frangie and Hays Carlyon on 1010XL Jax Sports Radio at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.

“I actually came into Ole Miss wanting to wear No. 1,” Patterson said. “One of my best friends on the team, A.J. Brown, wore No. 1 in high school. He’s a big guy, and I wasn’t going to out-body him for it. I thought to myself, ‘What other number could I wear?’

“I thought, ‘Why not 20?’ My grandpa wore 20 for the Detroit Pistons in ’68-’69. He played at the University of Toledo. I thought it would be cool and it was different.”

Maybe a little too different at first.

“I was looking in the mirror and I was like, ‘Whoa,'” Patterson said. “It’s a two-digit number and I’ve always been a one-digit guy. But it’s starting to grow on me.”

Patterson’s grandfather, George Patterson, died in 2003. His NBA teammates with the Pistons included Hall of Famers Dave Bing and Dave DeBusschere.

Patterson said that the Rebels’ new scheme under offensive coordinator Phil Longo has added fresh wrinkles to an offense that was already among the most consistently productive in the SEC.

“This offseason, we’ve been rolling,” Patterson said. “It’s pretty fun to watch. We utilize every single receiver in our offense.”

Patterson said his confidence has grown since last fall when a season-ending knee injury to starter Chad Kelly led to the true freshman getting an earlier-than-expected taste of SEC football against a division rival.

“Before the Texas A&M game, you kind of think in your mind that you can go out there and play against the best of the best,” Patterson said. “But you don’t really know until you make that first play.”

Listen to the full interview at the link below:

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