Landen Lucas Talks Recruiting

Landen Lucas sat down with TDD recently to discuss where his recruiting is headed.

You play for one of the best high school teams in the country at Findlay Prep, what has it done for you as a player to play a top flight, nationwide schedule?

Landen Lucas: It's great, it's all that I wanted or asked for. Last year was a real growing year for me, going from being a role player to starting the last month and a half of the season that was the key stretch. On top of that, playing the national TV games, you get jittery the first couple times, but by the fourth time, you're used to it, so going into college, what better experience than to have played on national TV? I'm looking forward to next year, I've gotten an early look at the schedule and it's looking real tough.

Who are going to be playing?

I know we play Simeon who has Jabari Parker on their team, and we're going to the LA Forum. We're playing in Hawaii, we always play Oak Hill, and I think we're in the Les Schwab as well which is in Portland, that's my hometown. I have no doubt we're going to have the hardest schedule, and that's real fun to me.

Playing such an intense schedule, does that make what colleges are talking with you about in your recruitment a bit easier to handle?

You know, colleges do a good job of making you feel comfortable. They just make sure you are prepared for anything that can happen. I think going back to my experience at Findlay Prep, a lot of what I have gone through there is going to help out a lot - just the little things like doing a 5:30 AM workout, running and conditioning with Coach Peck…it's going to give a leg up as a freshman I think because we'll be able to deal with the early workouts and the travel and the basketball and the being away from home.

How tough was it to move in terms of non-basketball?

It was really hard. Just adjusting to the grind and having to come home not to your mom's meals, but I'd have to do laundry, cooking, stuff you normally don't have to do when you're home. About halfway through the year I got used to it and I know that going through is going to help me a lot when I get to college.

You've been on the recruiting radar for the last several years now. Which schools are starting to stand out?

You know, that's interesting that you brought that up because I remember playing up with the 17's as a younger guy and I did well and colleges started heavily recruiting me. I remember the first day colleges could call me I talked to Rick Barnes, just a bunch of coaches. And then that next summer all the coaches were saying leading up to the summer how much they were looking forward to seeing me, and then I went out that summer and played terrible. I mean, just straight up terrible. For me, as a kid, my dad was like, take everything as a lesson, and I took that second summer as a real learning experience. Schools really started dropping off after that rough summer and rough start at Findlay Prep, so now that I started having more success this past season at Findlay and schools are starting to call again, I really have to ask, where have those schools been? I don't want to get to college, have a few bad games and then have a coach check out on me. The schools that stuck with me are primarily West Coast schools like Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, schools like that. There are also some schools that are just starting to get involved with me who weren't involved before.

Like who?

NC State, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Florida State, San Diego State.

A lot of those schools you just mentioned having new coaching staffs, is that something that appeals to you?

It's not really positive or negative either way, I definitely don't have anything against those schools that are just jumping in, I'm just seeing who they are to figure out if they are going to make my short list.

One of the schools who got involved with you a while ago was Duke. Can you characterize how their interest has progressed since they first started recruiting you?

Yeah, I was surprised with them, because at that low point I talked about before was when they first contacted me, so that showed me a lot about who they were as a program. Them staying involved makes me want to prove to them this summer that I can still play, especially in light of what happened with my play. They let me know that they are going to come see me this summer and then just go from there. It'd be an honor to be recruited by them, I mean, it's Duke, Coach K is a great coach, it's a real appealing situation to me there.

What has the level of contact been like with Duke?

It was pretty regular when Nate James was an assistant coach, pretty consistent in talking with them on Facebook, and I would get a call every month from them. I know there's been a change in the staff, so I'm not sure who is going to be recruiting me now, but the last time I talked with them, they said we'll see you this summer and go from there.

What are the big factors to you and your family when it comes to your college decision?

I really like coaches who give you an honest opportunity, not like a guarantee, just an opportunity on equal grounds with everybody else to earn playing time. Visits are also going to be important because I may like a school and then visit and get a weird feeling about it, so I', going to be looking at that too.

From a basketball perspective, is it better to go into a school with a stable of talented bigs or to go in and be ‘the man' from day one?

I like playing with other bigs to be honest. I can play with a variety of bigs by the way I play. I also feel like it's important to look at do they play with two bigs, because I go to a school that plays just one big, so I'm looking at what schools are doing. I don't mind either way whether they play one big or two, but if there's a lot of bigs in the program, I will be asking how they utilize their bigs.

So were you watching teams this past season to see how they played?

I tried to as much as I could, but my dad was really watching a lot of teams during the season because I was so busy traveling and playing and doing school. My dad points out things to me like Duke's a good school and how they play. He also pointed out Kansas and how they run the high low offense with Danny Manning coaching there. I'm going to be listening to my dad a lot with my decision because he's been through playing, he's been through coaching, he's dealt with a lot of other angles, so I'm going to be leaning on him for help with my decision.

You've been linked to Arizona as well, are they a program you've been watching closely?

Yeah, my dad actually just talked with them the other day and I'm set to talk with them the next time I have time to. I feel like that's a good situation, Grant Jerrett is a big that compliments me and I compliment him. The conversation we had with Coach Miller was really great, he let me know they are seriously considering me and that I could come in and play, not just be a role player.

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