JAI LUCAS, PG, 5'10, BELLAIRE, TEXAS:
Without question, Jai Lucas is one of the very best point guards in the country and the best point guard in the state of Texas. He comes from a famous basketball family, and those family members have always said that Jai is the best of the bunch. That is saying something when his father John played and coached in the NBA and brother John III, who recently signed a contract with the Houston Rockets, was a great player at OSU.
"I just take it as a big-time compliment. Both of them have played at the highest level of basketball so they are both tremendous. I don't know how much better of a comparison that I could get than that," Jai said.
Considering everybody in the family is a guard, you would think it is safe to assume that they all play a little a like.
"I guess my whole game is like their's because they have taught me everything that I know in life and on the court. So, I would have to say that my entire game comes from them."
So does Jai play like his brother or his dad?
"I would have to say that I am a very similar type of point guard to my brother in that I am quick. I think I can get to the hole and distribute a little better than my brother. Neither one of us were as big as my dad, so he played the game a little different than we do. We use speed a little more in our games, but outside of that we play the game the same way."
Jai averaged 24 points and six assists per game at Bellaire last season. And in AAU ball this summer, he played just as well as his team (Houston Hoops) just won the AAU National Tournament in Las Vegas.
"That is a great feeling. That was our main goal going into the tournament to end our summer like that. There are only three of us on the team that will come back to AAU next year and we wanted to end our AAU career on a bang."
Jai has been offered by eight schools at this point, but five stand out at the moment.
"I have my choices down to five, but I am still open. I am looking at LSU, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Maryland. I would have to say those are the five schools that I think hard about. I have taken unofficial visits to LSU and Maryland, and I went to OU and OSU to see my brother play. I went to Kentucky with my dad when I was younger at one of his coaching clinics. I don't have a real leader. I would say they are all the same at this time."
Since his brother played at OSU, it caught many by surprise that he has an interest in Oklahoma. But Jai says he has always had his eye on the Sooners.
"I have always been interested in Oklahoma. It is close to home and I always liked coach Sampson, but now that coach Capel is the coach I have enjoyed talking to him. I like his approach to the game. OU has a great environment surrounding their basketball program and I love their big-game atmosphere. I went to a Bedlam game up there and they had sold out the stadium and all the fans were wearing white t-shirts, and that was great."
Does it help OU at all that coach Capel was a point guard at Duke and knows the position very well?
"That plays into it a lot," Lucas said. "With OU needing a point guard, I could see me going in there and get some minutes right away. Then with coach Capel playing the point at a great program like Duke, I think I could learn a lot and enjoy playing for him. He played for Coach K and his father was a coach, and his brother played basketball so he comes from a basketball family like I do."
John III had a great career at OSU, so does Jai wish to play in his brother's footsteps?
"That really doesn't play a big part with me. The fact that I would play in my brother's footsteps wouldn't bother me. When you have been around a school as long as I have at OSU, you fall in love with it. I was around it all the time when my brother was there, and even though Eddie has retired I think Sean will coach a lot like him.
"I think it was a good decision to pick Sean. They will have a junior point guard, but that doesn't bother me because that is the nature of the position. If I went to Oklahoma State, I would go in and compete for the position. I will do that anywhere."
Since Jai has seen most of the schools that he is considering, will he make official visits?
"I have seen a lot of these schools, so the visits are not that big with me. I do want to take a few visits and see how I feel around the team and the players. I want to go to a school where I feel comfortable, and I am not talking just in basketball. I am going to feel comfortable at any school in basketball, so it is going to come down to how I feel on campus.
"I am looking for a school where a coach really wants me and will let me play and believe that I can lead his team. I want to go to a school where he lets me do what I can do."
Lucas will have no problem qualifying.
Hoops: Sooners in the mix for Lucas
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