Alabama guard Trevor Lacey played on state championship teams in 2008 and 2009. Butler High School in Huntsville might have won another won last year if he had not hurt his knee in late February. Still, he was named Alabama's Mr. Basketball.
"They just said they saw me enough during season and I had done enough to open their eyes that I got Mr. Basketball," Lacey said. "I didn't get to play again until early April. I actually was supposed to sit out two or three months, but my trainer had intense rehab with me and got my knee back."
His knee is fine as shown by his decision to play football for the first time this season even though Butler did not win a game last year and has only one win this year.
"Football was my favorite sport. No one in my family has ever played football. My family is dominated by basketball. My dad took more time out with me through football season to work with me more on basketball, so I missed football season," Lacey said. "I was working to get body stronger.
"After I saw Brandon Knight one summer and he was cut up like a football player, I was like, ‘You don't have to be that big to play basketball,' and he said everybody in college was that size and I got serious about my body.
"I play receiver and cornerback. I love it. Even though we are not the best team, we give it our all. We don't have much depth and that is where teams take off on us. But football helps my basketball. I feel stronger in my legs and I am able to get off the ground quicker. Walking in that grass and jumping in that grass is different than on the court and I get up easier now."
It's not like he neglects basketball, either. He works on basketball during the end of the school day when he has free periods and then goes to football practice. "I don't do either sport half speed," Lacey said. "I don't slack on my studies, either. I go to each of my teachers and get individual help and I go to a tutoring class. My football coach lets me leave practice and go to a tutor if I really need it."
Lacey says he was always a "slasher/penetrator" who could set up teammates. Surprisingly, he believes the knee injury made him a better pure shooter and helped his overall game.
"That gave me time to shoot when I couldn't play. I was just shooting flat-footed and working on my follow through and rotation and working my upper body to give me more range on my jump shot without trying to throw it up," he said. "It helped me get my mechanics better. When you are up and going, you just kind of go through the motion with it, but I couldn't really do any movement. I could do vertical, but not lateral.
It gave me the opportunity to shoot and go straight up and come down in the same place and work on my jump shot.
"The best part is now I can shoot the jump shot really well. I like to take my shots off the dribble, but I can also spot up and shoot. I didn't have an off the dribble type game. All I could do was drive and finish. Now I have a little floater and have a really good jump shot."
On the road with Trevor Lacey
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