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Ex-Pitt basketball star Patterson signs overseas

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Lamar Patterson of the Atlanta Hawks handles the ball against the Houston Rockets during the Samsung NBA Summer League 2014 on July 19, 2014, at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.

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Former Pitt standout Lamar Patterson is following a recent trend established by NBA second-round draft picks who opt to play overseas their first year after leaving college.

Patterson, who led the Panthers in scoring and assists as a senior, signed a one-year contract with Tofas Sports Club in Bursa, Turkey.

Patterson was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round in July (48th overall). He was traded to the Atlanta Hawks a few minutes later.

He played on Atlanta's summer league team in Las Vegas but never signed with the Hawks.

“My goal absolutely remains to play for the Hawks, and this is an important step to help me get there,” Patterson, who was not available for comment, said in a statement. “I am going to continue working extremely hard this year, and I will come back as an improved player who is ready to contribute in any way possible.”

Patterson's season with his new team is scheduled to run from October to May. The 6-foot-5 guard still has the opportunity to sign with the Hawks, who maintain this NBA rights, once his contract in Turkey expires.

Agent Adam Pensack, who represents Patterson, said as many as half of the second-round selections in this year's draft (15) could play overseas this season.

Overseas contracts feature guaranteed contracts and include enticing extras such as free luxury condos, cars and food. Terms of Patterson's contract — featuring a salary less than the NBA minimum of $507,000 — include free round-trip travel.

“It's a growing trend for NBA draft picks playing overseas,” Pensack said. “This is an opportunity for Lamar to work hard, continue to get better and compete in arguably one of the top two or three leagues overseas.”

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jharris@tribweb.com.

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