Missouri trying its luck with Loucks?

In its efforts to replenish the roster a year from now, the Mizzou basketball staff has been closely monitoring several players from the Sunshine State. A new name that is all-important search for players to replenish its roster in the Class of 2008, the Missouri staff being mentioned increasingly is Clearwater (Fla.) point guard Luke Loucks.

Loucks, a 6-foot-5 point guard, is coming off a season during which he led his team to a 25-5 record and a berth in the Class 5A region semifinals, has been receiving attention from a growing number of college staffs, including MU's.

"Their assistants have been down here to see him," Clearwater coach Jack Coit said. "He's a player."

Loucks averaged 14 points and 6.8 assists this season. Though a much-improved outside shooter, he's known for his fantastic passing ability. That, along with his great size for a point guard and all-around skills, has earned his verbal scholarship offers from Florida State, Wake Forest, St. Joe's, West Virginia and Ole Miss. MU has not yet offered but has been watching him closely.

Loucks is wide open at this point and plans to take some visits this spring and summer, once he determines which schools are most serious about bringing him aboard. He plays for a highly respected AAU team in Team Florida, which could schedule trips to a few events this summer based on what areas are closest to the colleges Loucks is considering.

"We're trying to set some things up once we see which schools are showing the greatest amount of interest," Coit said. "He just needs to see the schools and get a feel for the place he'll be spending the next fours years at. It's a big decision."

Also a quarterback on the football field, rumor has it Loucks can wing the ball nearly 80 yards. Basketball is his first love, though, and he uses his passing skills just as well on the hardwood.

"He can throw a full-court pass with his right or his left hand and hit you on the dead run," Coit said. "The kid's got an arm on him."

Loucks also has excellent grades and is a solid young man, added Coit, who said his versatility is his biggest strength.

"He can go right or left. If you saw him play, you wouldn't know if he was right-handed or left-handed."

In an effort to best utilize the star point guard's ability, Coit switched to a more up-tempo system this past season. Loucks can run a team excellently regardless of the system or style of play, but would seem to be a good fit in MU's fast-paced attack.

Inside Mizzou will be keeping tabs on Loucks and will keep you posted on any developments as Missouri is concerned.

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