Among the schools Alabama rebuffed in the recruiting process for Lacey's signature in May 2011 were in-state rival Auburn, Kansas, Kentucky and UConn.
He entered Alabama in the fall of 2011 after recovering from minor knee surgery in June. The setback prevented him being on campus for the summer months and delayed conditioning until the preseason. Three times as a freshman he was the Tide's top scorer in victories at Georgia (19) and home against Tennessee (18) and South Carolina (15) despite being less than full-strength. He appeared in 33 games, starting 16 of the final 22. Lacey became the primary three-point threat and made a team high 31 makes, though only at a 30.1 percent rate. He finished the season as the fourth leading scorer averaging 7.3 points, second in assists with 59, third in free-throw shooting percentage at 79.7 and third with 28 steals. Overall he shot 41.4 percent from the field.
Lacey improved offensively as a sophomore, doubling his three-point production. For the second consecutive year he drained a team high (62) from three-point land and increased his proficiency to 37.3 percent. Shooting from beyond the circle was not the only area of significant progress for Lacey. He managed to top the team in assists with 115 even though the point guard position was not a primary assignment. Lacey accounted for 51 steals, second on the team and was the only member of the squad to start all 36 games. However, with the increased production, his overall field goal (39.2) and free-throw shooting (71.8) percentages dropped from the previous year. He ended his second campaign at Alabama as the team's second leading scorer averaging 11.3 points.
The Alabama native displays a cool temperament well suited for the unscripted drama indigenous to athletic competition. Thirteen Alabama games were decided by four points or less. Lacey embraced the clutch role as the go-to player in those tightly contested games, winning two out of three on the Tide's last possession. He swished a step back three-point buzzer beater to defeat South Dakota State (link) in the season opener. Texas A&M was ahead by one as Lacey successfully converted a 17-foot jumper with nine seconds remaining from the left side of the key (link) to insure a January victory. A trey with 56.8 seconds gave Alabama the lead for good in a February win over Vanderbilt (link). He either led or tied for high scoring team honors 11 times as a sophomore.
North Carolina's fast paced offensive attack should provide spacing allowing the catch and shoot scorer to flourish on the perimeter. The 6-3, 215-pound long range shot-maker would be a welcome addition for Tar Heel guards interested in padding their assist stats. The prolific prep scorer is not a long striding top-tier athlete swooping through the lane for dynamic scintillating dunks although an occasional retrieval of a lob pass for an alley-oop throw down is within the repertoire. He lacks an extra gear for bursting to the bucket. Lacey prefers penetration to the basket with the dribble drive powering through the lane. He has shown the capability to finish at the rim with either hand. Anticipation and proper positioning are the cornerstone skills defining his defensive style. A year spent redshirting may be the key to increasing his quickness, improving the ball-handling abilities and continuing development of his entire offensive game. The junior to be will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2013-14 season.