Sophomore Watch: Jai Lucas

While most sophomores in high school are worried about getting their driver's licenses, Jai Lucas is starting to spend a little more time thinking about college. The 5-10 PG at Houston (Texas) Bellaire is emerging as one of the most promising backcourt prospects in the class of 2007.

Lucas is already on the Tar Heel radar and recently had the opportunity to take in "Late Night with Roy Williams" during an unofficial visit.

"We were in town because my parents are from Durham and they were checking in on their parents," said Lucas. "It just happened to be the day of the Midnight Madness so we drove to Chapel Hill and checked out the practice. I loved it, it was great and I enjoyed the atmosphere and being a part of basketball like that."

Considering his family -- he's the son of former Maryland and NBA star John Lucas and the brother of reigning Big 12 player of the year John Lucas III -- it isn't a surprise that Lucas has already shown enough to draw big-time attention. In addition to North Carolina schools like Florida, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Oklahoma, Texas and several others have showed early interest in the remarkably mature and easy-going guard.

Spend a few minutes speaking with Lucas and it is obvious that his off the court perspective is an asset on the court. He's a pure point guard who looks to get others involved first but if you back off he is a beyond dangerous perimeter shooter who made a remarkable 74 percent of his three-point attempts as a freshman.

"I'm just a true point guard, I distribute the ball, score when I have to and I can hit the open shot," Lucas said. "It's funny because some people compare me to John Stockton, and I'm like, John Stockton? Then I sat down and looked at the numbers and the way he played and realized it was a great comparison. I don't know about those shorts, though."

At this point Lucas is more concerned with looking at what type of system different schools around the country run and honing his game. He'd like to go to a school that runs and academics will be very important to the 3.7 student who recently joined the national honor society.

"I do have a lot of interest in North Carolina right now," said Lucas. "It's big-time basketball there in the ACC and it doesn't get any better than that when you are talking about places like North Carolina and Duke and the other great schools in the ACC."

According to Lucas, neither his father nor his brother put any pressure on him to follow in their footsteps and attend Maryland or Oklahoma State. They each encourage him to do his own thing but he makes sure to soak up all he can from them on the court.

"They have a big influence because we're always around each other in the gym and I get a lot of my game from my dad and my brother," said Lucas. "I really try to base a lot of my game off my older brother. He's a very good role model -- the best. I like to tell him I'm better, though. It really gets him going."

Now that he's started his sophomore season Lucas will be putting recruiting thoughts on the backburner for a while. His Bellaire squad is absolutely loaded with talent -- much of it young -- from top to bottom and he's focused on keeping his teammates on track and winning a state championship.

"The city is putting a lot of pressure on us and there have already been articles that say we should go undefeated or that we could win a couple of state championships," finished Lucas. "Right now I'm just trying to keep my team even minded. I don't want any of them to look at all of the hype and think they've already done it or get big heads. I try to let them know that we haven't done anything yet and make sure that we stay hungry."

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