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Devonte Patterson, one of the Mavericks’ Exhibit 10 signees, has deep ties to the organization

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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has watched Patterson play for years.

Prairie View A&M v Seton Hall Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Amid the flurry of moves during the first few days of the NBA’s free agency period, a team signing an undrafted player to an Exhibit 10 contract can easily go unnoticed. That’s likely the case with the Dallas Mavericks bringing in Devonte Patterson.

Patterson has the physical gifts and knack for the game that could translate into a career at the next level, but there’s more to his story. He’s been on the organization’s radar for some time. In fact, Patterson’s relationship with Mavericks dates back close to a decade.

It began in high school. Patterson attended home-school in Flower Mound, TX for his freshman and sophomore years. That didn’t keep him away from organized basketball, however. He played for a home-school team, the Flower Mound Rebels, organized by Neal Hawks.

Hawks pampered the players on his teams. Patterson and two other teammates even moved in with Hawks, The Dallas Morning News reported in 2015. With Hawks, they lived “a first-class experience, jetting off to basketball tours of Australia and the East Coast, taking vacations to Hawaii and the Cayman Islands” as well as other perks. Patterson and his teammates even relocated with Hawks when he moved to Bridgeport, TX, transferring to the local high school, and leading it to its first-ever state title.

Outside of school, Hawks arranged for them to receive coaching and support from former Mavericks players Michael Finley—now the Mavericks’ vice president of basketball operations—and Jason Terry. How did Hawks arrange this kind of access? It helps that he’s Mark Cuban’s brother-in-law. They married sisters.

“Because of that relationship, I’ve watched [Patterson] since he was a kid and have watched most of his PVAM games,” Cuban says.

Patterson just finished his collegiate career, playing his junior and senior years at Prairie View A&M University after transferring from Ranger College. During his final season, the 6-foot-7 forward impressed. Despite being suspended for the first eight games of the season because of a paperwork error—he declared for the NBA Draft after his junior year before withdrawing and returning to school—he put up some of the best numbers in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

As a senior, he averaged 15.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists, helping lead the Panthers to their second consecutive regular season title. Patterson made the First Team All-SWAC in his two seasons at Prairie View, and he was named the conference’s player of the year his final year.

After not being selected in this year’s draft, the Mavericks signed Patterson to an Exhibit 10 contract, The Athletic’s Tim Cato reported. Exhibit 10 contracts non-guaranteed, one-year deals worth the league’s minimum salary. NBA teams often use them to stash a player on their G League affiliate. Players with an Exhibit 10 contract earn an extra $50,000 if their NBA team waives them but they remain on a G League roster for at least 60 days.

Patterson’s close ties to Cuban and the Mavericks certainly didn’t hurt his chances of being given an opportunity by the organization. Now, he must prove that he deserves it. Training camps open their doors December 1.

“He has length, athleticism, can shoot the ball, and defend,” Cuban says. “He was the SWAC Player of the Year. We think he has a shot to make it.”