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Archive for Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recruit Landen Lucas picks Kansas

Oregon big man chooses Jayhawks over Washington, Cal, Stanford, Tennessee

Kansas recruit Landen Lucas watches the action during the second half on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas recruit Landen Lucas watches the action during the second half on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

November 13, 2011, 6:49 p.m. Updated November 14, 2011, 12:20 a.m.

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Portland, Ore., basketball big man Landen Lucas — who attended Kansas University’s Elite Camp last spring — had the Jayhawks high on his original list of schools.

“A lot of people don’t know they were in my top seven. This isn’t something new. KU was an option for more than this last week,” said Lucas, who, following the Oct. 31 commitment of Kaleb Tarczewski to Arizona, became pivot priority No. 1 for the Jayhawks.

Flattered at the interest — and eager to not let an opportunity go by — Lucas visited KU on Friday and Saturday, and after returning home Sunday, orally committed to play hoops at KU.

The son of former Oregon standout Richard Lucas, who also visited Washington, Cal, Stanford and Tennessee, will sign his national letter Tuesday at his high school, a day before the conclusion of the early signing period.

“It actually was hard,” Lucas said of choosing a school that had him on the back burner for a while, “but Kansas was the only school I would have picked that late. They jumped in. They jumped in strong. I really feel that even though they came in late, for some weird reason I feel I’ve known them for a long time.”

Lucas, who is not in Rivals.com’s current list of top 150 players, started his high school career at Sunset High in Portland, moved to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., last year and is now back in Portland at Westview High.

Lucas, whose mom, Shelley, is a teacher, has a near-perfect grade-point average and is not expected to have any eligibility issues.

“It was everything,” Lucas said of his choosing KU. “The opportunity to develop there under coach Manning (Danny, big man coach) and coach (Bill) Self in that system was really appealing to me. They want me as an anchor for the team, and that’s what I’m going to do for them. I’m definitely excited to get out there and hopefully help them out.”

Lucas said he had a great time on his KU visit, which included a seat behind the bench at Friday’s KU-Towson game.

“I went in there seeing if I could fit in,” he said. “Coach Self made it clear what they needed help with and how I could fit in the KU system. What appealed to him (Self) was the inside/out part of my game. I can guard a five. I can play a four, though. That offense is appealing to me. My dad likes the fact the big men make a lot of decisions in the offense.”

Also ... “KU has a great history. They develop big men, and that’s important,” Lucas said.

Lucas — who averaged 6.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks his junior year at Findlay — said Sunday turned out to be one of the happiest days of his young life.

“Everyone knows it is one of the biggest decisions you can make,” he said of choosing a college. “It’s a decision that makes me want to go in the gym and work hard for next year. I want something to motivate me. That’s exactly what I’m getting from this commitment. I wish I could get on campus and start working out right now, but obviously I have to wait until the end of this year.”

Westview coach Pat Coons is looking forward to working with the Lucas this season.

“Landen’s got a good body on him,” Coons said. “He’s a good, strong kid that is only going to get a lot stronger. He carries his frame in a large way, so he’s got the type of body that he’s going to keep putting on muscle and he’s going to keep putting on bulk, which is going to make him a heck of a post-up kid. One of his assets is that he can step away and shoot. He’s got a really nice touch for a big kid, but he’s not going to run outside and shoot all of the time. At the same time, he’s a kid, with his body that can rebound. He’s a natural shot blocker and rebounder.”

He’s not yet ranked, thus may not excite the masses as did No. 20 Tarczewski. Yet it’s possible he’ll make KU fans someday forget about not landing the Arizona player.

“I will make sure you guys do (forget),” the easy-going Lucas said with a laugh.

KU’s Class of 2012 consists of Lucas, Perry Ellis and Zach Peters. KU will have one scholarship left to award if Thomas Robinson, as expected, turns pro after the season. KU would have two to give if Justin Wesley returned to walk-on status. He is on scholarship this year after transferring from Lamar as a walk-on. The Jayhawks are awaiting word from Andrew White, 6-6, 210 from Miller School in Chester, Va. He has visited KU, West Virginia, Louisville and Texas with Georgetown trying to get involved late.

Peters, 6-9 from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, will sign his KU letter at a banquet tonight.

ESPN says ...

Here’s ESPN.com’s scouting report on Landen Lucas: “He has a solid frame with ideal length and he is becoming much stronger as well. His body has really matured over the past year and as a result he is becoming much more physical. He has excellent fundamentals (footwork) in the paint area and he understands the nuances of scoring in the paint area. He utilizes the pump fake very well and he always appears to be on balance while operating in the paint area.

“With this added bulk, he has lost some of his bounce and he is generally regarded as a rim-level player. In addition, while posting up, he is almost too patient as he has a tendency to react slowly to what the defense is giving him. With is lack of high-level lift, he needs to attack quicker and utilize his well-schooled fundamentals (pump fakes and pivot moves) to score more effectively. In addition, he needs to keep the ball higher while operating in the post so the guards can’t get to him.

“Lucas is considered one of the better power forward/center-types on the west coast. Due to his physical nature and advanced skill set he should be a viable recruit for the high-major level. He doesn’t have great bounce, but he does have good hands, excellent foot work and a high basketball IQ to compete at that level.”

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

ESPN has him 89 overall, and 22 for his position.

In other words, the freshman class so far already has an extremely solid frontline.

jayhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

A "near perfect GPA", that coupled with Perry Ellis' 4.0 sounds like a good deal to me. Given Coach Self's history of winning, I'm feeling much better about the direction of the program.
I'll always remember something that happened back in the '80's. In 1986, we had a great team, went to the Final Four. But a severe knee injury to Archie Marshall and foul trouble by a young Danny Manning (caused by some questionable officiating), caused us to lose in that semi-final game. Two years later, we entered the tournament with a team with less overall talent, but they won it all.
If Ellis and Lucas stay 3 -4 years and graduate, If McLemore and Traylor stay 3-4 years and graduate, if we dedicate ourselves to playing like a team, if we let Coach Self do what he does best, we'll be fine. I see 2-3 trips to the Final Four prior to those guys leaving, hopefully with their degrees. Once in the Final Four, hey, anything can happen. Rock Chalk, baby.

soapisurfriend 3 years, 1 month ago

I agree. Perry Ellis will be a cornerstone of this team and Tharpe will run the point for years to come, and this next class (although not finished) with the addition of future-pro McLemore and Traylor, will sizzle. Let's not forget though, the 2013 class could be even better. Kansas could realistically land Julius Randle, who is just a pure stud. He seems to be a Kansas lean, as he is often seen with KU shirts on and is a teammate and buddy of 2012 recruit Zach Peters. If KU were to land #1 rated Jabari Parker, Noel, Allerik Freeman, or really any of the number of top ranked recruits considering Kansas in 2013, this team would be loaded for a while. They already have a commitment from a small, yet sweet shooting guard in Connor Frankamp, who reminds me a lot of shorter Tyrell Reed. In addition, Lucas will not dazzle Jayhawk faithful with the pure athleticism that we are used to, but he has huge upside. I can see him working as hard as the twins did, and molding into a player similar to their skill set.

martyks 3 years, 1 month ago

Wow. Welcome to the land of IF-dom. I am trying to adjust to the reality that we will have our biggest challenge since 2004 in winning the conference this year and we might not even tie for first. It hurts to even type those words. Hope has replaced expectation. Most of us survived and recovered from that disaster though. Perhaps we are even stronger as a result. I sincerely doubt that and never want to run that experiment again. However, IF we do not win this year (perish the thought), at least we can look forward to several years added to our banners after this one. The spokes may change, but the wheel keeps rolling.

sundancewierdo 3 years, 1 month ago

Don't panic! Bill Self will get wins out of his team, no matter where the players are ranked. As long as they do what he tells them, they will win... check out is profile on statsheet.com.... http://statsheet.com/mcb/coaches/bill-self

Douglas Yetman 3 years, 1 month ago

How big is this fellow? I didnt see that listed anywhere.

beaujackson 3 years, 1 month ago

6'10" and Jr. year avg. only 6 points, 6 rebounds, & 2 blocked shots.

No wonder he's not in the top 150k, and is overjoyed coming to KS!

What's happened to recruiting this year? The "top" prospects either went elsewhere or are not eligible.

Could "under the table money" be a factor?

koolluke 3 years, 1 month ago

those numbers come from being in a new program at findlay prep. now that he is back in oregon you will see his real numbers.

independent_rebel 3 years, 1 month ago

Ellis, just like Travis Releford before him, has been dropping in ranking as he's gone through high school. Both may ultimately end up being highly overrated. I hope I'm wrong. Gary Bedore only gives out the highest ranking he can find for anything to do with a recruit. For example, Bedore always talked up Josh Selby as the number-1 point guard recruit in the country, and would mention the service that said that. Most of the more intelligent services not only didn't list Selby as the number-1 point guard, they listed him as the number-3 point guard.

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