Hoops Recruiting: The latest on Lucas

McDonald's All-American point guard Jai Lucas talks about his recent visits to Maryland and Kentucky, his interest in Oklahoma and timetable for his upcoming decision.

Jai Lucas, PG, Bellaire, Texas:

JH: I know you are disappointed that your season is over since you lost out in the playoffs. What did you think about your season?

JL: "I think we had a great season. We really didn't know what to expect coming into the season. We had a lot of freshmen and underclassmen on the team. We worked real well with what we had."

JH: I understand it was a close game in the final?

JL: "We lost by 3 points. It was a good game against a team we had played earlier in the year and had beaten us. It was the same kind of game. We played well in this one, but we just couldn't get it done at the end."

JH: What did you end up stat-wise for the season?

JL: "I averaged 26 points and six assists per game."

JH: How did you feel your year went individually?

JL: "I did well. I had to do a lot of things this year that I normally don't do. It was stuff I was not sure about like having to be the primary scorer. That was kind of an adjustment. I had to shoot a lot more shots and score a lot more because I was really the only true scorer on our team. This was the first year that I had to put up points instead of helping everybody else score. I think I have shown everybody I can do whatever it takes to help the team."

JH: What did you think of your recent trip to Kentucky?

JL: "I went to their last home game last Wednesday. They played the University of Georgia. It is real nice to be there. It was Senior Night. So there was a lot of emotion in the air and everybody was into the game. It was just a great environment to watch a game in."

JH: I understand the Kentucky fans were serenading you?

JL: "Yeah, they showed me a little love. They were just chanting stuff like ‘We want Lucas' and things like that."

JH: How did that make your feel?

JL: "It made me feel kind of weird at first. I really didn't know what to do or how to react to it. After a while you get used to it."

JH: At this point you have seen a game of every team you are still considering, correct?

JL: "Yes, I have."

JH: I haven't talked to you since you have been to Maryland, so what did you think of your trip there?

JL: "I went up there for a great game against UNC. That game was really intense. It was just a great environment and everything."

JH: Do they still love your dad (John Sr.) at Maryland?

JL: "Yeah, they do. My dad is a legend there. They still talk about him and everybody we saw wanted to tell me a story about him. That was just wild."

JH: Did they compare you with your dad a lot?

JL: "No, because there is not a comparison to my dad. They were just reminiscing about old times and my dad was a great player there."

JH: Now that you have seen games at the four schools you are considering, what is your game plan for recruiting now? JL: "I am getting ready to narrow it down and get to the end of it soon. I am looking to make a decision at some time at the end of this month."

JH: When you say narrow it down are you going to get it down to two schools and then chose between the two?

JL: "I am going to try to, but that will be hard to do. But that is one of my goals."

JH: What are your thoughts on Oklahoma at this point?

JL: "I love Oklahoma and Coach (Jeff) Capel. Both times I have been there on campus I loved it. I loved the campus and Oklahoma is somewhere that I can see myself going to school just as a student. Even if I wasn't going to be playing basketball, I could see myself going there. It just has a great feel."

JH: There are a number of people that say OU is out of the picture. What would you say right now to people that make those statements?

JL: "I would say don't count anybody out until you hear it from me. Those are just rumors started by people that don't really know. I haven't said anything like that at all. If that was the case and I was serious about ruling OU out, I would have told Coach Capel about that by now just out of respect. I haven't come close to telling him anything like that."

JH: You seem to know all these schools so well so at this point, so are you still working off a formula that you and your family have put together or it is just a gut decision at this point?

JL: "I am still considering all the things that I have talked about before — like the type of offense a team is running. But this will come down to a feeling in the gut as well. It is a mixture of both because you have to go somewhere where you can feel you will be best utilized and that you can impact the team right away. You want to go to a program where they can use your skills and put you on the court and display you in the best way. That also plays a big part in looking for a school because you don't want to go to somewhere they feel they have to change your way, and that you can't play up to your best ability because you are trying to do something you can't do."

JH: How much does the current season and the success or lack of success from a team come into play?

JL: "That doesn't come into play at all. I try to look at everybody equally. Whether they are going to the NCAA or not doesn't come into it at all. I want to go somewhere that I can be a big impact like I have said. I don't want to go somewhere that has been winning the NCAA Championship this year, and then I go there and just become another name."

JH: Are you studying the recruiting class that is coming in with you?

JL: "Yes, absolutely. I have been looking to see who would be coming in with me and playing in college with me for four years, if that turns out to be the case. That is always a big thing to look at everybody's recruiting class and see what position they are filling, who they are getting and what they need the most."

JH: So at this point you are just working out staying around and trying to make a decision?

JL: "I am done making my trips and I am just working out trying to get better and trying to make a decision."

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