Ex-USF guard 'Cuda' Patterson dies at age 49
TAMPA -- Darryl "Cuda" Patterson, a point guard who played with Charlie Bradley at Robinson and USF in the early 1980s, died Wednesday night after battling a rare blood disorder. He was 49.
"Cuda was one of the nicest kids you'd ever want to meet. A wonderful, soft-spoken person," former Bulls coach Lee Rose said Thursday. "He was never a minute's problem in any way for me. Players all liked him, somebody they all admired."
Mr. Patterson was a star at Robinson, and after two years at Florida College, rejoined his friend and teammate Bradley for two seasons at USF from 1983-85. He averaged 12 points a game as a senior, helping the Bulls to their first-ever win at Madison Square Garden with 21 points in a win against St. Peter's, including 10 points in the final six minutes.
Bradley said Mr. Patterson helped him fall in love with the sport they would play together, starting with playground courts at the Ybor City Boys & Girls Club.
"As a friend, Cuda kind of got me started into basketball," said Bradley, who stayed with his friend and teammate's bedside until he died Wednesday. "He would do anything for you, and you only had to ask once. We shared so much together. He's definitely going to be missed."
Bradley met Patterson in seventh grade, playing at rival middle schools -- Patterson at Madison, Bradley ("He calls me Chuck, not Charlie") at Monroe -- and meeting in the championships in eighth and ninth grade. They played together at Robinson, and Bradley persistently lobbied for Rose to bring him to USF, finally convincing him to bring him in for his final two seasons.
"Cuda was really quick, and he was quick with the ball," said Rose, who kept in touch with his former player, talking as recently as last year. "He was very small, but he had the skills to beat his man off the dribble, and that was a great benefit to our team."