Lucas Deals With Expectations, Recruiting

Jai Lucas,'s No. 58 prospect in the Class of 2007, is enjoying his down time from the circuit. For Lucas, the NBA Camp looms next and his recruiting is beginning to take shape as programs jockey for position.

Jai Lucas, Guard -

Jai Lucas has heard it all before and he still hears it every time out. The 5-foot-10 Bellaire (Tex.) High standout walks around with a bulls-eye on his back because he's the son of a former NBA player and the brother of an all-american.

"It's every game," Lucas said. "Someone will say something to me. They'll say ‘you're overrated' or ‘I don't know why your last name is Lucas.' It's all motivation to me."

Lucas is good enough that he doesn't need the extra motivation. He's one of those small guys who has no idea what his height is. It matters little to him and since he plays fearless, height is merely a statistical measure.

"It's what you have inside you."

Inside of Lucas is a player. He's a winner and a tough guy, as tough as a guy who isn't 6-feet can be.

The point guard has an offensive arsenal from which to pick from. He's confident in his abilities and rightfully so, he usually delivers the goods. "I'd have to say (my best asset) is my ability to get places on the court and not let anything hold you back. It's not size, it's just getting it done – penetrating or shooting a floater."

Lucas' ability to score and play the game not only comes from his dad and brother, but from the players he works out with. His father, a former star at Maryland who is regarded as one of the best high school tennis players ever from the Tar Heel State, works a lot of would-be and current NBA players out.

Jai regularly laces them up against the likes of J.R. Smith, Damon Stoudamire, T.J. Ford and a host of others. In short, he's always playing against good competition.

Lucas' recruitment is operating at a high level. Lucas knows the deal. Some will think he's ticketed for Stillwater and others might even be intimated by his father, the former NBA head coach.

"Really I'm just open to everything. People label me that I'm already going to Oklahoma State and it's not even like that. There's a recruiting process to go through. I'm not talking down on Oklahoma State because I love them. But, I kind of want to create my own path and do something other than follow in the footsteps."

Enter Kentucky, LSU and even the Oklahoma Sooners. "LSU is really coming and Kentucky is coming (on strong)," Lucas said. "Oklahoma, they're starting to come around a lot."

With Lucas, one of the key components is playing time. His father is the trusted confidant in the process and John, Sr., says go somewhere that allows you to get on the court and get game time as a first year player.

"He said I need somewhere where I can go in and play and get some good minutes as a freshman. I need to get a lot done early and establish myself. I don't want to go anywhere where I have to sit on the bench behind a senior or junior."

The Cowboys have Byron Eaton, a McDonald's All-American, at his position. Lucas sees the other programs as being a little more wide open at his position. No matter who ultimately decides to go full circle with Lucas, at some point they're going to want to involve his father in the process, at least as a conduit to the player.

"I think it's more of a way of them getting in contact with me," Jai said. "(My dad will be) involved when it comes to deciding where I end up going to school."

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