The picture above is the only that I have been able to find of Jai Lucas announcing for Florida. After two years of following Jai Lucas and his recruitment, our coverage ended forever, the day he picked the Gators. When he made that selection, it was for a number of reasons…..however the two most important were his belief that Patrick Patterson would likely join him and his affinity for Billy Donovan the man and the coach. Well now as of June 1st, neither of those rationales for coming to Florida are still in place. It is not a huge secret that I am a Jai Lucas fan and I actually feel bad for him that things have not worked out as he had hoped in Gainesville. But the real question now is, after thinking the Jai Lucas saga was FINALLY over….is it back on yet again?
Let me be clear about one thing…..Kentucky is interested in having Jai Lucas in Lexington. Fans are understandably debating the issue and opinions vary on whether one would want Jai in Lexington after he picked a rival school initially. But the coaching staff has a different set of priorities….they dont care about what they have to say to rival fans….they want to win, and they know Lucas can help UK win. For whatever reason (and I admit to being a bit mystified), the staff is still interested in a point guard for this class. It was part of the reason they inquired about Hank Thorns and it is why they are still looking for point guards this summer. Lucas is the best point guard left available this year (if he is available) and can compete favorably with the 08 point guards that UK has a chance at landing. So if Lucas is open to UK, UK will be open to Lucas.
My guess is that UF hires Anthony Grant. When Florida fans tell you that the Gators are the same level of program that UK is, remember that statement when they hire someone like Grant and have no chance with the level of coaches UK was inquiring into during their search. Grant’s first order of business will be to try and preserve the class. Lucas and his family were huge fans of Jeff Capel, likely liking him better than any other coach in the process. But they didnt want to “risk” Jai’s career on a new coach out of VCU who had not had time to prove himself at a big program. Does one think that will change now?
Will Jai decide to leave? I am not sure….but I do know one thing….if he leaves, the same suitors will come calling again. And if that happens, the Jai Lucas saga (unbelievably) will continue on this blog. My cohorts and I spent last weekend trying to make plans for what we would focus on in the coming summer…..and just like a comet from the sky Jai Lucas may have appeared again. Lucas/Patterson is back…..and my name is once again, “Hey Matt, what do you know about Jai Lucas?”