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Chemistry Lesson
Joe Lemire
April 09, 2007
The last two undecided All Americans may go as a package
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April 09, 2007

Chemistry Lesson

The last two undecided All Americans may go as a package

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JOHN LUCAS, the former NBA guard and coach, says putting together a good basketball team is simple: "If you've got a point guard and a power guy, you've got a chance to win." That's why Lucas has advocated that his son Jai and Jai's friend Patrick Patterson team up to choose a college. The seniors—the only two McDonald's All Americans who have yet to decide on a college—first played together at the NBA Players Association camp in Richmond last June. The 5'10," 150-pound Lucas, who averaged 25.0 points and 7.5 assists this year at Bellaire (Texas) High, supplies speed, and the 6'8", 230-pound Patterson, of Huntington (W.Va.) High, brings brawn. "Pat's a great big man," Jai says. Patterson, who averaged 18.8 points and 16.0 rebounds, says the elder Lucas's pitch has been persuasive: "He says Jai makes me a better player, and that's true."

If they go as a package, it could be good news for Kentucky, the only college that both have publicly acknowledged as a possibility—Lucas's list includes Maryland, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Minnesota, while Patterson is considering Duke, Florida, Virginia, Wake Forest and West Virginia. But John Lucas says that Jai may have "one or two other schools" in play, and each player wants to see whom Kentucky hires to replace departed coach Tubby Smith.

Patterson, who has a 3.5 GPA and may study computer engineering in college, hopes to choose by mid-April. "I weigh out my decisions," he says. Jai has no timetable but is following his father's request to give suitors a long look. "Everybody can put on a good dog-and-pony show, but I want to catch you with your bedroom dirty," says John Lucas, who was an All-America in basketball and tennis at Maryland.

At the McDonald's game in Louisville on March 28, each received come-ons from the other players. Duke recruit Taylor King says that he and the two other future Blue Devils there, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, strategized on how to edge out Nick Calathes, of competing school Florida, for Patterson's attention: "One person ties up Nick, and we go get [ Patterson]," King said with a laugh—proving John Lucas's point about the value of players who can work together.

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