Jai Lucas Leaving FloridaPosted by rtmsf on November 5th, 2008
Our first big transfer news of the impending season occurred today, as the word from Gator Country is that PG Jai Lucas informed Billy Donovan of his intention to transfer from the program at the end of this semester. From the Orlando Sentinel:
Lucas informed Donovan of his decision at around 12:30 p.m. After starting all 36 games and averaging 8.5 points and 30.1 minutes per game as a freshman, Lucas described Florida as “not being the best fit for him,” Donovan said. Being far away from his home of Bellaire, Texas, also contributed. Lucas, who plans to stay on campus until the fall semester ends, has yet to choose a new school, Donovan said. “There was a point where Jai wasn’t totally happy,” Donovan said. “He wanted to try to make it work…I hate to see him go, but my biggest thought for him is I want to see him happy wherever he goes. We haven’t even talked about schools.”
(Photo Credit: Casey Brooke Lawson / Alligator)
It seems peculiar that Lucas has suddenly become unhappy two weeks into practice of a new season. In our experience, that usually belies an issue of ‘the writing on the wall’ in terms of another player kicking his butt up and down and all over the court in practice. Despite Donovan’s admonitions about Lucas’ exit not having to do with playing time, we’re not buying it – so who could be causing Lucas to feel expendable?
Our best guess – freshman guard Erving Walker. Donovan has already publicly called the 5’8 freshman Walker a “formidable backcourt player,” and his 13/6 assts in Monday’s debut was the newsworthy takeaway from that exhibition. It’s no secret that Lucas, who had a solid overall freshman year in 2008, struggled with distributing the ball. Despite playing over 30 minutes per game, he only averaged 2.3 assists (4th on the team) and accounted for merely 12% of his team’s assists – not great numbers for a point guard.
There’s also the issue of class of 2009 stud Kenny Boynton, who will arrive in Gainesville next season as the Next Big Thing. While Boynton is expected to play shooting guard, his presence will put additional talented bodies into an already-crowded backcourt. We don’t find it coincidental that Boynton’s commitment to UF came last week, Walker’s hype began earlier this week, and Lucas’ decision came today. Solid logical pathway there.
What say ye, Gator fans? Where will Lucas end up? Oklahoma State, Texas, Kentucky?