Devils Check In On Four Star Center

The class of 2012 is going to feature more additions to the backcourt and wing, but one of the more pressing needs for the Blue Devils may very well be in the post. To that end the Duke coaching staff has checked in on a four star prospect from Oregon.

"It kind of came out of the blue," said Findlay (Nev.) Prep center Landen Lucas. "But one day I got in touch with Coach Nate James who asked if my list of schools was still open. And with Duke, you can always open your list. After that we kind of talked and got to know each other a little bit."

And so began the initial portion of the recruiting process between the Blue Devils and Lucas, a 6-foot-9 230 pound four star prospect who transferred to Findlay Prep from Oregon before the start of this season.

"The decision to come here has been good for me, but it's also been a big adjustment. Going from being the man and getting touches every time down floor to this level of competition and learning to fit in with so many great players takes time. I feel like it's starting to workout. Good and bad, the decision to come here was the right one."

Duke fans may be somewhat unaware of Lucas' game, but they aren't in the minority. In fact one of the reasons the talented junior transferred to Findlay was to get more exposure from the schools on the Eastern seaboard.

"I've been recruited by all the Pac 10 schools, but with all the travel we do at Findlay, the schools on the East Coast have gotten to see more of me and interest is picking up. Right now I'd say the schools in that region who are the most active are Georgetown, Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Texas."

Perhaps the the Blue Devils will join that list in the coming weeks and months. It would certainly seem likely according to the conversation between James and Lucas.

"Their pitch is that they need a guy who can come in and really take some pressure off the guards. That's really my game. I am a guy who does the dirty work that most players don't like to do. I like to come in and push guys around in the paint and rebound before throwing outlet passes. I don't need a lot of shots on the offensive end of the floor, but if I get the ball I know what I can do with it inside. I do really like the idea of playing with great guards."

"Coach James is going to try and get in touch with my family to set up a time to talk so we can all start building a relationship. Off the court he feels like Duke is similar to Findlay because the players are always in the spotlight and always dealing with interviews and things like that. He felt like I can really handle that."

Working inside and doing the "dirty work" is exactly what the Blue Devils got from now departed seniors Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek on the way to the 2010 National Championship. Of course both of those players needed time to change their bodies and add bulk and muscle in order to absorb the physical challenges in the paint. It's something that Lucas has worked over the last few years as well.

"I did weigh around 170 pounds a few years ago, but got up to around 250 pounds before I came to Findlay. When I got here the coaches realized a lot of that was bad weight. I've done a lot of conditioning and working out and am now around 230 pounds."

"My goal is to get to campus around 250, but I need to add that 20 pounds back as good weight. I am working hard to add it back and to maintain and improve my explosiveness. I think my lower body strength is good right now, but I need to get my upper body where I want it so I can battle under the basket."

With the recruiting relationship just beginning and the destination unknown, Lucas says he is focusing on his season and will turn his attention to recruiting - and Duke - as the year progresses.

"There's really not much that can be done right now other than the initial contacts. They may be able to come out and see a practice or a game depending on their schedules, but this summer will be important. It will be a chance for me to show what I can do and if things move in that direction I can take a visit and see the campus."

Until then Lucas says he's got a pretty good idea of what the Duke program is all about, though he is looking forward to learning more.

"Honestly they are the kind of school you listen to when they call. I see them on TV a lot, but now that they've talked to me I am watching to see how I can fit in and what they would need from a big guy. It's a new look for me for sure."

Lucas is rated as a four star prospect according to He is considered the No. 71 overall prospect in the class of 2012 and the 17th best center prospect.

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