Hard working guard ready to be a Wildcat

Arizona did not get the next Mike Bibby, but they may have gotten the next Gilbert Arenas. When they lost out on the next great Phoenix player they may have re-opened a pipeline that once served the program so well.

Had Jerryd Bayless not de-committed the Wildcats would never have looked at Laval Perry-Lucas. Although the door has not been closed on the Phoenix standout, his decision to re-open his recruitment did open a new door for the fast rising guard from Flint, Michigan.

On Wednesday a player who until a month ago was still a well kept secret held a press conference and chose Arizona over a number of big time programs. Arizona got the call over programs like Michigan, Michigan State and Boston College.

"It was great, it was great, it was great," Lucas-Perry said of his press conference announcement, almost in awe of the event. "I'm sort of used to the attention now, but it was fun. I really loved the attention."

Just a few months ago Lucas-Perry was getting very little attention. He had a lot of schools keeping him on the radar but it wasn't until some impressive performances in April that he started to draw even more interest. One of those teams that became interested was the Wildcats. A trip to Tucson for the Advanced Skills Camp earned him a scholarship offer and less than three weeks later he was verbally pledging to play for Lute Olson's program.

Lucas-Perry admits to leaning towards the Wildcats for some time but it wasn't until Tuesday night that he came to a final decision. He and his family had a group discussion and decided Arizona was the place for him.

Earlier in the day Michigan, one of his top schools, added a commitment from Alex Legion, but Lucas-Perry claims that the commitment had no bearing on his choice.

"It didn't change my decision," Lucas-Perry said. "Alex and I are close. We could have played together and made a terrific backcourt. Even before Alex committed I felt really good about Arizona.

His sister is a basketball player at Michigan State and his father played for Dick Vitale at Detroit, but he felt no family pressure to stay in-state. After weighing all the pros and cons he decided the Wildcats had the most things he was looking for in a school.

"They had an impact," Lucas-Perry said of his family. "They told me to find the college that impresses me the most. They want what is right for me.

"At Arizona I felt the most loved. They really wanted me and I like their style and school."

He admits that moving from Michigan to Arizona will not be the easiest situation but it is one he feels will help him develop as a player and a man.

"I come from a strong family background, it is going to be different but I will become more independent and it will make me a better person," he noted.

Lucas-Perry is not currently rated in the top-100 but that seems poised to change after a strong summer. He has played very well for the Michigan Mustangs as well as at the shoe camps and both scouts and schools took notice.

"Lucas-Perry is a smart, instinctive guy who can play either spot," said Scout.com's Jeff Goodman. "He is able to keep defenders honest from long range and also finish at the rim because of his strength and size."

Lucas-Perry has been compared to another sleeper, former Arizona great Gilbert Arenas. He will wind up being a higher rated prospect than the current Washington Wizard, but there are some similarities.

Another player he resembles is Reggie Geary, at least in terms of his defensive tenacity. Geary was able to guard any backcourt player and Lucas-Perry feels he has that same ability.

"Arizona sees me as a player that can play three positions because of my defense," Lucas-Perry said. "I have the ability to defend the three spot."

Although it was Bayless' de-commitment that gave Lucas-Perry a shot, the Wednesday commitment does not mean Bayless no longer has a spot. Word is that Bayless still has a scholarship available and Lucas-Perry admits that he was never told that he would be the only guard in the class.

"If they do it (add a guard), it will be for a good reason," said Lucas-Perry. "Lute Olson is a man of integrity and will do what is right for the program and what he thinks is best to win a national championship."

In addition to being a great basketball player, Lucas-Perry is a highly rated football and tennis player. He is also an excellent student.

When asked what fans should know about him all Lucas-Perry wanted to impart was that he had a strong work ethic.

"I do my best in everything I do," Laval said. "I am a hard worker and strive to be the best at everything. It doesn't matter if it is athletics or academics, I work hard to be good at everything."

His hard work has paid off. The only question is who will benefit more, Laval or the Wildcat fans who get to cheer him.


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