The Star-telegram's Mike Jones did a terrific piece on Jai Lucas and how he's impacting the program.
If you've been around the site the last few months you know I've been singing Jai's praises. And when it comes to assessing Jai as a player, I think a lot of folks get bogged down in the minutiae when evaluating his game. Choosing to focus on wingspan, hand size, and height in this instance is a mistake if it stops you from getting to all the skills and intangibles Lucas brings to the table especially when you consider the pieces to the puzzle already on campus.
Granted, not paying attention to these details can get NBA GM's fired, but the college game, a purer form of basketball, requires, well, basketball players and Jai is exactly that.
This article reaffirms everything I've been saying about the transfer guard. He's short, sure, I get that. But you can't discount the importance of things like growing up around an elite level of basketball, playing pick up ball with current NBA'ers and holding your own, a tough mental makeup that's forged from being on the big stage your whole life, so on and so forth. And in case you were wondering, Jai would have been the second best perimeter shooter on the team last year. I don't know about you, but the basketball purist in me likes a made jumpshot every now and again.
My favorite part of the article are these comments from Springmann, and I'm guessing it was Dexter Pittman's favorite part of the article as well.
AUSTIN — During a team practice session, Texas was working on a play designed to feed the ball into the post, where center Dexter Pittman had re-emerged as a late-season force.
When redshirt Jai Lucas, taking his turn at the point, did not immediately acknowledge the upwardly thrust hand of the 6-foot-10 center, assistant Russell Springmann called a halt to the action.
"Did you not see him?" Springmann asked, wondering how the guard could have missed a target that without Cooley Pavilion walls could have been seen from nearby I-35.
Lucas had more than an appropriate explanation for his apparent oversight.
"He said he wanted to dribble back towards the middle of the floor to force the help-side defender to get out of there, then come back on the drag and throw Dex the ball," Springmann related.
"I’m like, 'Good answer!’ Heck, I was just going to say if the big guy has his hands up, throw him the ball."
This kid is going to be nails for us and he's coming into the perfect situation. It's a great time to be a Texas Basketball fan.