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.
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