Tucker, along with Duke bound guard DeMarcus Nelson, formed the dynamic backcourt duo that defeated Hampton Roads the evening prior to this sunny afternoon. As we approached the lay-up line in warm-ups -- I didn't even know who Tucker was or what he looked like.
But it didn't take long to figure out who the kid was.
As we watched Nelson and company show off in the pregame activities -- we saw this one kid soar down the lane and cock the ball back with ease. He dunked the ball with little effort. He only looked about 6-0 tall. Then again -- he came back down the lane. This time? A 360 with his right hand.
This was fun.
Could this be Tucker? The kid had a reputation for being a leaper, but usually things like this are overblown, right?
Not this time folks. This was indeed Tucker and the word on the street is legit. The boy can flat out fly.
Before the tip of the game, I watched him pull off a few more highlight reel dunks -- some of them were too unbelievable to even describe.
Anyway, the NorCal Elite squad took the floor. They tipped off and we were in action. Tucker immediately took the role of being the primary ball-handler. I made my way over to sit beside his father, Terry, who was very genuine and kind. His father was very engaging in conversations about his son, a junior at San Diego University High.
"We're excited about the attention," said the elder Tucker, who barked out instructions to his son as the game went on. "he's been kind of kept a secret out west for some time, but now he's getting the attention he deserves."
When watching Tucker in action, it's quite evident that he likes to play defense. He picks up his man right away and plays on-the-ball pressure defense concentrating on getting in the passing lanes and moving his feet.
Speaking of his feet -- they're very quick. This smallish athlete darts around the court and keeps his hands up and moving at all times.
His agility is superb and he seemed to be very energetic out there. He knocked down a 26 footer midway through the first half and had some beautiful assists to slashing teammates during a big NorCal run that crushed the hopes of their opponents, Baltimore Blue.
When questioned about N.C State, Terry Tucker smiled brightly and had some kind words for Herb Sendek and his staff.
"NC State has offered Rico a scholarship, but they haven't put pressure on us or anything. Coach (Larry) Harris came all the way out to San Diego to see him and they offered the same day. They really like him and they want him to come there, but they've made it clear that they've been looking at some other guys also," said Tucker.
Of the other recruits at the point guard position -- NC State is highly interested in Marquie Cooke, a 6'3 power-point from Virginia, A.J. Price, a 6-1 shooter/scorer from Amityville, NY and 6'1 Jason Horton, a pure point guard from Cedar Hill, Tex.
"I think he just wants us to know that he's going to take the first one to commit," added Tucker.
"We could definitely see him going to NC State," he added. "I'm in the military, so that's the only reason that we're in San Diego right now, but I have relatives in West Virginia and Ohio too."
As the game progressed -- Tucker battled some foul trouble. And eventually, he fouled out despite a very respectable performance against a tall, athletic squad from Baltimore.
When approached after the game, Rico Tucker definitely makes it obvious that he enjoys the recruiting attention.
"It's been fun," he said. "It shows that all of my hard work has finally paid off."
We asked him about a school list and in particular -- the Wolfpack...
"Well, they are definitely very high on my list," he replied with a big grin. "I'll probably make a decision at the end of the summer. Yeah, probably around the end of the summer."
Other schools mentioned by his father were Tennessee, Gonzaga, San Francisco and Oregon.