Wednesday, November 5, 2008
PG Lucas leaves the Gators
Jai Lucas came to Florida as a McDonald’s All-American and the No. 7 rated point guard according to Scout.com. Today, he leaves the Gators unable to secure playing time and a role on a team with a plethora of backcourt talent.
The sophomore from Bellaire, Tex made a stop in Billy Donovan’s office to inform his coach that he would be transferring at the end of the semester. Lucas will sit out any remaining games before that time.
Donovan said it had nothing to do with playing time, just like bolting for the Magic over the summer had nothing to do with money.
UF brought in point guard Erving Walker and shooting guard Ray Shipman in the off-season, congesting a rotation that already included reigning SEC Freshman of the Year Nick Calathes and senior leader Walter Hodge.
The 5-foot-8 Walker, 5-foot-6 if you get him out of those heels, is already a fan favorite and was making it very hard on Donovan to sit him at the end of the bench. Walker's playground moves and limitless range helped raise questions as to who was the best laughably undersized guard on Florida’s roster.
(Left, Lucas and Walker in a game of one-on-one to decide who stays in G-ville)
Then again, maybe Lucas really wasn’t comfortable in Gainesville, despite being extremely close with Calathes and Chandler Parsons.
Championships aren’t for everyone.
The intriguing part of this whole saga will be where Lucas, who wants to be a featured player, will transfer.
When Lucas was going through the recruitment process, he was thought to be a package deal with Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson.
Ultimately, Patterson spurned the Gators for the Wildcats and the duo was broken up. It’s hard to imagine someone jumping from school to school within the SEC (unless you’re a football coach who sandwiched an unsuccessful NFL stint between stops), but you can bet Jai will be getting a call from his friend Pat-Pat sometime in the near future.
The more realistic possibility has to be heading back to the Midwest to play for a prominent Big 12 program. That way, Lucas can get plenty of clock for a team without a prayer of winning a National Championship, and he wont have to worry about this “team concept” Donovan seems to be so keen on.
Jai’s brother, John Lucas III, took Oklahoma State to the Final Four in 2004 so don’t be surprised if first-year Cowboys coach Travis Ford blows up Lucas’ hip over the next few days.
After all, why wouldn’t the son of a former NBAer want to step back into the shadow of his supremely talented older brother? Making a name for yourself is hard work.
For Florida, Lucas joins Jonathan Mitchell, who will lace them up for the Scarlet Knights next season, as the second member of the 2007-08 squad to bolt for another program.
The school seems to have moved on already, just hours after Donovan made the announcement during a press conference Lucas’ name no longer appears on the official roster.
Sometimes breaking up isn’t hard to do.