Orchard Lake St. Mary's junior PG Kalin Lucas decided to hang up his football cleats this year to concentrate on basketball. But as he looked down onto the football field last Saturday and saw his former team and good friend Dionte Allen playing for the Catholic League Title, a part of him wished he were out there. "I miss it a little bit," Lucas said of football. "It's only sometimes when I regret it. When I come to the games…when they played Brother Rice I was thinking, 'man, I wish I was out there.' That game was real hype and everything. I was wishing I was still out there playing with Dionte and them."
As fun as it would have been to help the Eaglets continue on their state title march, Lucas made his decision to step away for a very good reason. Over the last year he proved to scouts and coaches all over the country that he was one of the elite players in his class. But that isn't enough. The 6-1 floor general wants to get better, and to do that, he knew he would have to put in the hours. Those around him point to that work ethic as the reason they knew he'd blow up like he has. Lucas wasn't quite as certain until he squared off with some of the nation's top payers a few summers ago.
"I used to look on the websites and see kids in front of me that I thought I was better than, so that just made me work harder," Lucas said. "I knew I was just as good as [the top players] the first time I went to the Nike Jamboree after my freshman year. When I came from there and I saw all those kids there, I said, 'man, I can play with anybody!' That's when I REALLY started working on my game everyday."
The interest in Lucas continues to be on the rise. Some of the nations top programs are keeping a close eye on him, and five that he knows of came by his school this fall. Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, Michigan, and Michigan State all made appearances at St. Mary's, but the Wolverines and Spartans are still the only ones to have offered. That goes a long way with Lucas. "I'm feeling both the in-state schools right now," he said. "I like the coaching staff and the players at Michigan State. The same thing with Michigan. I like the coaching staff and the players. When I went up to Michigan to hoop the first time, I really enjoyed myself. I felt welcome."
Kalin Lucas, his little brother, and Dionte Allen
The recruiting process really began to heat up for Lucas over the past couple of months, but it hasn't become overwhelming. That's do in large part to the guidance and support provided by his parents Ken and Tina. Another factor that has made the situation easier to handle is the having friends that are going through the process as well. Dionte Allen and Durrell Summers are both being heavily recruited also. They've discussed recruiting, and have even talked about attending school together, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will all end up at the same place. "Me and Dionte haven't really talked about [going to the same school] that much. I've talked about it with Durrell. We said it would be cool if we went to the same school, but we both are going to make our own decisions."
Lucas' criteria for picking a school hasn't changed from that which he described back in the summer. The chance to contribute early will be paramount. "I want to go to one where I play right off," he said. "I don't want to be riding the oak…riding the bench. I want to make sure I have a good relationship with the coaches and the coaching staff, and make sure it is a good school (academically)."
At Michigan Lucas has developed a rapport with headman Tommy Amaker, but the guy that he is in contact with most is new assistant Mike Jackson. "I talk to Coach Jack more than I talk to Coach Amaker," Lucas said. "We talk about more than basketball. He checks on me to see how I'm doing and to see how school is going. When we talk, it's about more than basketball….we talk about life."
Lucas indicated he still plans to make his decision around July of next year.