Kansas impresses 2012 big man

As one of the top college basketball prospects in the Class of 2012, Landen Lucas has a special reason to follow the college season with a sharper eye than the casual fan.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound power forward from prestigious Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep already has a bevy of scholarship offers on the table, many from the Pac-10. So, together with his father, he watches games with the goal of identifying coaching styles and systems that might suit best him when he makes his own jump to the college game in a year's time.

That's really how the Kansas Jayhawks first caught his eye last season. While watching them on television, the elder Lucas pointed out that the system utilized by Head Coach Bill Self and his staff just might be that perfect fit.

"For him to say a statement like that, I really have to listen and consider," the bruising big man explained. "I really didn't understand until I got down here."

Though the Kansas staff has been in contact with Lucas since last summer, things picked up recently. On Friday, he arrived in town for an unofficial visit and to partake in the program's Elite Camp, to get a glimpse at what Kansas basketball is all about.

It's safe to say he wasn't disappointed.

"Everything they do is just big time out here as far as Kansas basketball goes, and I feel like I could really fit in," Lucas said. "Especially talking to Coach (Danny) Manning and how he coaches the bigs."

Upon his arrival, he had the opportunity to spend some time with the members of the current team ("I felt like they were a whole bunch of great guys") before starting camp on Saturday. Though camp concluded at noon Sunday, he intentionally scheduled his flight for later in the evening so he could get another opportunity to sit down with the coaching staff.

To Kansas fans, Lucas' appeal to Self and Co. is likely understandable. Though not a truly explosive athlete, he's billed by Scout.com recruiting analysts as an extremely powerful basketball player who excels on the defensive end and on the glass.

"I'm the kind of player that I enjoy doing those things that most bigs don't like doing, such as playing defense and rebounding," he noted. "Those are my two main goals. I'm an unselfish, passing kind of big, and I think that works with a lot of high-low work and stuff. That's important for me to find a system like that."

The main purpose of the trip to Lawrence, Kan. was to get in the unofficial visit, Lucas explained - the Elite Camp was just an added bonus. Coming off an ankle injury, it gave him the chance to receive high level coaching and get up and down the floor a bit before the start of the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va. next week.

Where Kansas is concerned, Lucas said the Kansas coaches hope to conduct an in-home visit when able, and he indicated a desire to set-up an official visit for the fall. Right now, he and his father hope to speak with the staff in greater depth in the near future, to find out where he stands as far as an offer is concerned.

However, the talented big man felt he left Lawrence on an extremely positive note.

"Coming into it, I didn't know what to expect," Lucas said. "And coming out I definitely know why people love it so much."

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