July 29, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Basketball may seem like a matter of life and death, especially at the time, but freshman guard Patrick Lamar has the ability to keep things in perspective and has set goals for himself extending beyond the game.
His long-term goals really would be a matter of life and death.
“I’d like to be an officer in the Army and hopefully be a medic,” said the Marietta native and Blessed Trinity Catholic High School star. “I really enjoy medicine, I enjoy how the human body works and I enjoy learning about that. So I figured a medic would just kind of incorporate all of those things. I kind of want to be in the thick of things on the battlefield so….”
For now, though, the 6-0, 192-pound Lamar will settle for being in the thick of things on the court in the ACC, as he’s attempting to walk on at Georgia Tech. He’s attending school on an Army ROTC Scholarship.
But his is more than a pipe dream. He showed in high school that he can play and especially shoot, something he hopes to prove he can do so on the D-I level.
Only the second player in Blessed Trinity history to score 1,000 career points, Lamar hit 42 percent of his three-point shots in leading the Titans to a 23-8 record last year and to the 6AAA championship game, earning him second-team all-state honors as a senior by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (he was named first-team all-region 6AAA as a junior and senior).
That kind of shooting would be welcome by Georgia Tech, which shot 31.5 percent from three-point range last season.
While he can shoot the ball, Lamar showed he was a good all-around athlete throughout his high school career, playing running back for two years and also doing the 100- and 200-meters and the high jump. But, in the end, basketball won out.
“I always liked trying to experience different sports ever since I was young but really my focus on basketball has been trying to get a scholarship since I started playing basketball,” he said. “That was my dream to get a scholarship and I figured I kind of had to put all my time into one sport and basketball’s always been my love.”
Unlike with sports, the choice of where to attend college was much clearer. All signs pointed to Georgia Tech.
“It was really, the Engineering program. I’m studying Biomedical Engineering and it’s the No. 2-ranked Biomedical Engineering school in the country,” he said. “That played a huge factor in it, the ability to play basketball here. They all kind of contributed to make this decision really the right one.
“I just love the community here,” he said. “All the coaches push us very hard and I really feel like I’ve been getting better. The weight program is great, the coaches are great in drilling us with skill work and the pick-up games have been really good, too.”
Down the road there’s the carrot of possibly playing in the ACC.
“It’s really a dream come true,” he said. “Growing up I always wanted to play college basketball and I just happened to get that opportunity here at Tech with the walk-on spot. I’m really proud to be here. It’s everything I dreamed that it would be. It sounds cliché but it’s really a good opportunity and I’ve been enjoying it thus far.”
He’s even enjoying the challenge of balancing training and trying out for the team with his rigorous studies.
“It’s going to be difficult trying to get all those classes in and going through the training for that,” he said. “But it’s definitely going to help financially. It’s my dream to become an officer in the military so I can do that here at Tech.”
So which does he think will be tougher: mastering Biomedical Engineering or Coach Brian Gregory’s playbook?
“I think both of them,” he said, with a laugh. “I might have to say Bio-Med studies. Basketball is nothing new to me. Plays will be hard to memorize but once I get the hang of it, it will just be memory for me.”
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