Hamga Could Help Hawks Land Jai Lucas

The Iowa coaching staff still is working hard on Jai Lucas, the best unsigned point guard in the '07 recruiting class. The Hawkeyes are hoping center commit Beas Hamga could make the landscape more attractive for Lucas. Read about the connection between the two prep stars plus learn about more basketball recruiting news in this HN.com Premium Notebook.

I spoke with somebody close to the situation on Friday who said that Iowa still is involved in the recruitment of Houston PG Jai Lucas. And, yes, he has an offer from the Black and Gold.

Hawkeye Associate Head Coach Craig Neal has been friends with Jai's father, former NBA star John Lucas, for quite a few years. John has told Iowa that his son will make a visit to Iowa City.

The 5-10, 145-pound Lucas merits four stars from Scout.com and is ranked by the service as the seventh best PG in his the '07 Class. He still has one official visit left after using his first four on Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, all of whom have offered. Duke also is entering the picture.

Iowa isn't overly concerned with getting an official from Jai. The Hawkeyes are just hoping to get him on campus and are hoping lightning strikes Lucas as it did with Tyler Smith.

Most analysts would call Iowa a long shot for one of the top unsigned players in the '07 Class, but the Hawkeyes do have a connection to Lucas in addition to Neal's relationship with his father.

Hawkeye verbal Beas Hamga has built a pretty strong relationship with Jai Lucas. The two hung out at the Peoria tournament, and Lucas is interested to see if his friend can get into school next year.

Hamga originally was slotted for the '08 Class, but there's a chance that the four-star center could begin his college career next fall. He's waiting to see if he can achieve his necessary core course work by transferring credits from his native Cameroon. He also must get his test score.

If Hamga could get into the '07 Class, Iowa believes it would greatly improve their chances with Jai Lucas. But even if Hamga doesn't make it in until '08, that still could weigh in the Hawkeyes favor for Lucas.

*The Iowa coaches will be watching Saturday night's JUCO showdown between Indian Hills and Iowa Western very closely. They're still evaluating the point guards from each school as possible recruits for the late signing period.

[link= athletics.iwcc.edu/mbasketball/roster.asp.html]Matt Culliver[/link] plays for Western where he heads into Saturday night averaging 12.4 points and 4.9 assists.

Indiana Hills counters with [link=ihcc.cc.ia.us/ihcc/Athletics/basketball/team.asp.html]Marcus Walker[/link], a Kansas City native that originally attended Nebraska. Sean Haluska, the brother of current Iowa star Adam Haluska, plays for Indiana Hills.

Iowa has not offered Culliver or Walker and still are evaluating both guys.

*Another possible prospect for Iowa for a '07 PG is Jeff Peterson, who hails from the storied prep program of Dematha Catholic in Hyattsville, MD. The 6-1 senior originally committed to Princeton but has since reopened his recruitment.

*Iowa also has offers out to '07 Class members Mike Stovall and Darrington Hobson, who visited Iowa City for the Wisconsin game. Neither is a true point, but of the two, Hobson appears more able to play the position. Hobson still needs to qualify academically.

*Brennan Cougill also visited Iowa for the Wisconsin game. The 6-9 post from Sioux City Heelan has not received an Iowa offer yet, but the '09 recruit is clearly on the radar.

*Iowa also has offers out to a pair of '08 Class members from Chicago – Michael Dunigan and Dion Dixon. Both players are among the top prospects in the state of Illinois.

*Joseph Bertrand from the Class of '09 recently received an offer from Iowa. The long 6-3 guard appears to have some growing to do. He plays for Sterling High in Illinois and runs with the Illinois Wolves in the summer.


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