Terps Make Impression on Lucas

Jai Lucas' official visit to the University of Maryland visit this weekend began unlike any of the previous trips he'd made – in a classroom.

The Terps coaching sent the standout Houston point guard to a Criminal Justice class Friday along with current players Ekene Ibekwe, David Neal and D.J. Strawberry. He then spent the rest of the weekend enjoying more of the standard visit fare – watching the team scrimmage, getting to know the players and coaches and attending Maryland’s raucous upset of Florida State at Byrd Stadium.

“I really like Maryland,” said Lucas, Scout.com’s No. 7 senior point guard in the nation, and Maryland’s top remaining target in 2007.

“It made a big impression on me.”

Lucas, the son of former Maryland star John Lucas, watched the team scrimmage Saturday morning, all the while schmoozing with a variety of people, the biggest name being former Terps coach Lefty Driesell. Driesell coached the elder Lucas in college, and his son, UM assistant coach Chuck Driesell, has been the lead recruiter in Maryland’s pursuit of the 5-10, 160-pound playmaker.

“Coach [Lefty] Driesell, he coached my father, so that was what brought him out. We hadn’t seen him in a while,” Jai said. But it’s also safe to say Driesell was there to pitch in on his son’s recruiting efforts.

The scrimmage was an important facet of the visit. While Maryland has two touted freshman guards in Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez, Lucas is a gifted pure point guard -- the sort of player who expects to get his hands on the ball early and often – and his foremost criteria seems to be the personnel that will surround him and how he’ll fit in.

The staff has been selling him on a three-guard set that would allow him to run the offense and create shooting opportunities for Hayes and Vasquez. After watching the scrimmage, he said: “I consider myself a pure point guard who can get the ball to everyone and make them better… Eric and Greivis are great players.”

He wasn’t hosted by any one player, instead spending the weekend with most of the team. The family atmosphere made an impression on him.

“They’re all real close-knit, just all together. They all hang out together,” he said.

After considering not going on his visit to Oklahoma visit, Lucas will head to Norman next weekend after all, although it doesn’t seem OU is very much in the mix for his commitment. That visit will end a whirlwind fall tour of four schools in four weeks, which will be quite the relief for Lucas.

“It’s very tiresome,” he said, “but you have to find the best fit for you.”

There has been a good deal of speculation that Lucas will choose between Maryland and Kentucky, despite him also listing Oklahoma State and Oklahoma as finalists. But Jai has played his recruitment close to the vest throughout the process.

A final decision is expected within a few weeks of his return from OU. Asked what that decision that could be, he was non-committal as usual.

Said Lucas, “We’ll just see.”

TerrapinTimes Top Stories