FNL Gets A Look At Trevor Lacey

Recruiting is almost done for Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant's class of 2011. There is, however, one more jewel he'd like to add in the crown of what's already a top 15 class nationally. As everyone who follows the sport knows, that jewel is Huntsville Butler senior phenom Trevor Lacey. Friday Night Lights is checking out basketball prospects.

The reason for the interest from Alabama is obvious. Coming into Wednesday afternoon's 4A semifinal game against Midfield at the BJCC, Trevor Lacey was averaging 32.3 points, 8.2 boards, and 2.6 assists per game.

Wednesday, he helped his Rebels to a 64-42 win, and a slot in the finals. Butler will be heavily favored.

Suffice it to say, on my first time seeing him play live, Lacey did not disappoint. Here's his line score on what was an off day shooting wise: 6-16 from the floor, 1-7 on 3's, 6-7 at the line, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.

"My teammates are always open," said Lacey. "I'm usually knocking down shots, but today that wasn't always the case. My teammates got open, and I found them."

Said Butler Coach Jack Doss: "Trevor Lacey's the best player that's ever been in this state. He's so unselfish. You're talking about somebody that's been double-teamed all year, and he's still shooting over 50 per cent from the field.

"He knows the difference between a good shot and a bad shot."

Probably the only negative came with Butler up 17 points late in the third period, when Lacey picked up a technical foul. His competitiveness got the best of him. It happens. To his credit, Lacey bit his lip and said/did nothing on what could have been an intentional foul against him with 1:43 left.

GAME STORY: Wasting no time, Lacey bombed a trey from deep in the right corner just 11 seconds into the game. He stroked a pair of free throws 90 seconds later. Later in the period, the explosive Lacey threw down an explosive two-handed slam on a fast break. He is that rare combination of an explosive player with a sweet stroke. Even Lacey's misses seem to be all of the in-and-out variety. The words "brick" and air ball" don't seem to be in the hoops description of Trevor Lacey.

Lacey is an unselfish player. He's out there to score, but he has no problem dishing to an open teammate. He was credited Wednesday with five assists, and could have had at least two more had fellow Rebels converted shots off his passes. That said, the 6-4 star is NOT a point guard. He is too good on the wing, whether slashing to the cup or pulling up for three. That said, Lacey can bring the ball up against the press, another plus.

Defensively, he gets steals with his quick hands, and is OK with drawing a charge, too.

Midfield (21-9) fought and scrapped with Butler, but the Rebels are just too talented. Lacey's got plenty of help, starting with his head coach, the venerable Jack Doss. Doss, who wears a tie to every game, has coached plenty of great players through the years. Names like Buck Johnson (Hayes High, Alabama) and Howard Pride (Butler, Vanderbilt) come to mind.

Doss, Lacey and the Rebels (30-4) will take on Anniston High for the 4A title Friday at 8 p.m. CT, as Anniston downed Hillcrest-Evergreen 61-46 earlier Wednesday.

LACEY'S RECRUITMENT: Lacey acknowledged he will wait until at least April 13, when spring signing week begins. "I've talked to guys who are in college now, and they say it's best to wait to see what everyone has to offer."

He mentioned, in order, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, Connecticut and Baylor. Most feel this a Bama/Kentucky battle.

Should Lacey's ACT not come up to speed, he said he would consider beginning a career overseas "because I love basketball so much. I think my ACT will be fine, though."

UNDERCLASSMEN TO WATCH: Junior point guard Justin Pride (Howard's younger brother) is a mid-major type guy at 5-10. He scored 11 and had four assists. Teammate Robert Steele is a 6-6, powerfully built ninth-grader who doesn't get a lot of minutes now, but has a great future.

For Midfield, 6-3 junior wing Brian Bender looked good while scoring 10 points.

FACES IN THE CROWD: In the no-rest-for-the weary department, Bama Assistant Coach John Brannen (for obvious reasons), former Alabama Coach Wimp Sanderson, former Tide "Rocket 8" player Leon Marlaire, and former Tide and NFL football player Antonio Langham. Brannen was there the entire game, and Tide Coach Anthony Grant got there in the fourth quarter for valuable face time.

PRESS ROOM FARE: This week, the press room food is being catered by Legends Smokehouse, based in Clay and Trussville. Owner Randy Walls had a spread including chicken fingers, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, rolls, and brownies. The chicken fingers were just OK, but they were donated, so I'm going to give the kudos the BBQ baked beans, which were from Legends. They were awesome. More later on dinner, which will be in the Greensboro/Jimmie Taylor story coming later tonight.

NEXT UP: Look for a story on 6-9 soph Taylor and his Greensboro squad vs. Carbon Hill in Wednesday night's Class 3A semifinal.

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