"Everyone was always urging me to go into tennis," Lucas says, and there is no question he feels he could have succeeded in tennis if he had chosen to.
This time around in WTT, with a full season ahead of him, both Lucas and Riessen expect that before long he will be contributing in matches as well as in practice, in which he is already routinely beating Pattison. But because Lucas played only four tennis matches during the basketball season, he is obviously unprepared for the pressures of actual competition. It will be tough for him to break into the Nets' regular lineup because Riessen and Richards have become the league's winningest mixed-doubles team.
Before Lucas left for the Garden for the tennis matches he checked with a friend as to when his new good-luck charm—he had lost its predecessor—would be ready. He wears the gold and diamond charm, which consists of the words "Cool Hand" (his nickname is Luke), on a chain about his neck. The diamonds sparkle conspicuously when he stands at the foul line.
"I was hoping it would get here by tonight," said Lucas. "I'm nervous and it brings me good luck."
It didn't arrive. But Lucas didn't need it. He didn't play. Cool Hand's biggest problem during the WTT season will be keeping a cool head as he sits and waits.