Throughout his junior year playing basketball for Newark High School, Dylan Patrick was often overshadowed by senior all-staters Will Clausel and Cam Myre as the Norsemen ascended to a Class 1A fourth-place finish in 2016-17.
But this season, Patrick took center stage for Newark, producing one of the best scoring campaigns in school history as its unquestionable leader.
The 6-foot, 2-inch guard poured in an outstanding 693 points and a whopping 24.8 points per game, third in NHS history behind Brett Anderson's 707 tallies in the 2012-13 season where Anderson averaged 21.4 per contest in comparison. Newark's all-time season scoring record came in the 1987-88 campaign where Norsemen great David Olson stunned the state with 1,004 markers and an awe-inspiring 35.9-point scoring average.
Patrick was also the team's leader in rebounds (150), assists (124) and steals (82) while leading the Norsemen to a 20-8 record and garnering Most Valuable Player honors at the Seneca Thanksgiving Tournament and an all-tournament team selection at the Plano Christmas Classic.
He also was tabbed as an Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 1A/2A All-State Second Team member, as well an Associated Press Class 1A All-State Second Team pick.
Patrick now becomes the third Newark boys basketball player along with Kyle Anderson (2010-11) and Brett Anderson (2012-13) to be awarded The Times Boys Basketball Player of the Year honor for his outstanding achievements throughout the 2017-18 hoop schedule.
"Just to be mentioned as possibly being The Times Player of the Year is an honor thinking of all the great basketball players there are in this area," Patrick said. "It's so special to me to have been awarded this, and to know I've reached the same level as Kyle and Brett is very humbling because they're people I've always looked up to and wanted to mirror on and off the court."
Patrick not only joined the Andersons in The Times POY history, but he also jumped on board with them as the 15th member of the elite Newark boys 1,000-point scoring club, leaving with 1,280 tallies for his prep career, good enough for 12th place on the ultra-exclusive list of Norsemen hoop greats,
In order to do that, Patrick dedicated himself between his junior and senior year and transformed himself physically with the help of Kyle Anderson into a strong and chiseled scoring machine who put up eight games over 30 points, 23 efforts of 20 or more markers and only five contests under 20, with 13 tallies being the fewest he posted all season.
"Last year we had more scoring threats with Will and Cam, and I think I only scored 11 or 12 points per game, so I knew this season I was really going to have to step it up," Patrick said. "I worked on my conditioning and my game in the offseason with Kyle, and he really helped me tremendously with my offensive game to become a player I was really proud of."
Veteran NHS coach Rick Tollefson couldn't have agreed more in terms of Patrick's transformation from somewhat of a role player as a junior into the team's go-to guy this past campaign.
"Dylan shifted from having the ball in his hands somewhat last season with Willy (Clausel) and Cam (Myre) to having it almost all the time this year," Tollefson said. "Everything was kind of built around him for us. With the strength he improved on, he showed this year he is probably one of the best finishers I've ever had as a coach going to the hole. He had a very special season."
Patrick reached the 1,000-point scoring plateau exactly with a 21-point effort in a win at Dwight on January 23.
"I wasn't sure whether I was going to get to it that night, but I ended up landing on the number," Patrick said. "It's just something so special to be associated with all the Newark players of the past, and I was truly honored."
He then went on to tally 37 points against Somonauk on Feb. 16, the best NHS scoring total since Brett Anderson poured in 38 against Illinois Math and Science Academy in February of 2012.
Patrick is currently unsure of where he wants to end up and attend college, but he believes basketball is in his future while desiring to concentrate academically on childhood education off the court.
"I definitely want to play basketball at the next level, and right now I'm really trying to find out what I want to do at this point," Patrick said. "I think I can compete at the Division II level, so hopefully I can find a place that's a good fit for me.
"I couldn't be more thankful for the season that I've had at Newark, and I'm really looking forward to the future."