Lucas Likes Comcast Center

Jai Lucas, for those who've been curious, is intrigued by the idea of following in his father's footsteps and playing his college basketball at the University of Maryland. But not for the reason some may have expected.

“I does intrigue me because of the stuff he accomplished there, everything he did in the ACC and all the wins,” Lucas said Saturday. “I might want to break some of those [records].”

Lucas, a 5-foot-10, 145-pound point guard from Bellaire, Tex., is rated as the No. 46 player in the Class of 2007 and the No. 4 uncommitted point guard. His list remains at five schools – Maryland, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and LSU – all of which he says he has equal interest in. He’s taken unofficial visits to LSU and Maryland, the latter of which provided a revelation.

Lucas was rendered speechless by UM’s Comcast Center.

“The new arena is amazing. It’s like a pro arena and they told me it seels out every night, which is [amazing],” said Lucas, who practically grew up in pro arenas while his dad – the No. 1 pick of the 1976 NBA Draft – was playing his 14-year career.

Jai (pronounced ‘Jay’) Lucas has been in steady contact with UM head coach Gary Williams and his assistants, who will be making an in-home visit with the Lucases in September.  The speedy playmaker said Williams has been selling him on Maryland’s high octane offense, and even hinted that he’d be willing to alter the offense a bit in order to favor Lucas’ strength of getting out on the break.

“He said they’ve been one of the top four scoring teams [most] years, so obviously you don’t score that many points without getting up and down the floor,” Lucas said. “I like to run up and down the court but I can also run the halfcourt [offense].”

Lucas has spent a lot of time this summer playing with all of the of big-name players his father’s workout camps attract – pros like Ron Mercer, Sam Cassell and T.J. Ford, college standouts like Glen Davis and Sean Singletary, and soon-to-be college stars like  like Wayne Ellington and Tywon Lawson (UNC).

He’s also grown up playing against older brother John Lucas III, who just signed a three-year contract with the Houston Rockets.

“Jai plays against pros all the time,” the elder John Lucas said.

The elder Lucas added that while he is excited by the prospect of his son playing for his alma mater, there’s no pressure from that angle.

“Of course Maryland is special to me,” he said, “but I just want for him to be happy.”

“Jai will pick his own school.”

Jai does not have a timetable for his decision. It seems he and his family will move deliberately through the process before coming to any sort of conclusion. He has not yet scheduled his official campus visits.

“I really don’t have any plans, I’m just going to play it as it goes,” he said.

Jai has become tight with heavily recruited forward Patrick Patterson when the two teamed up to win the championship at the Nike All-American Camp this summer. The two have discussed the possibility of trying to play together in college, but as far as Jai knows, Maryland has not been very active in recruiting Patterson.

He also said the Atlantic Coast Conference is a major draw for him – or any recruit, for that matter.

“I think the ACC is attractive to everyone. It’s the best conference in history,” he said.

More on Lucas in the coming weeks…

Jai Lucas Profile

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