Coach Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators have consistently recruited four-star prospect Jai Lucas, but he hasn't named the Gators as one of his top schools. Now that a major obstacle is out of the way, Lucas admitted that Florida has made a "big push" in becoming one of the top schools on his list.
Lucas admitted that the news today that Donovan is staying at Florida and junior point guard Taurean Green is leaving for the NBA draft has a big effect on his recruitment.
"It's kind of big," said Lucas, the 5-foot-10 point guard out of Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas. "He was one of the coaches I was looking at who might come to Kentucky. He has been recruiting me all along at Florida, but I wasn't listing Florida because I didn't know if Taurean was leaving or staying. Also they got a commitment for a 2008 guard.
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"But Green leaving really changes things. Florida has now made a big push. I'm not ready to put them in my top schools yet, but they did make a big jump."
So will Lucas, who has one official visit left at his disposal, visit Gainesville before making a final decision.
"It is very possible that I'll take a visit," Lucas said. "I spoke with Coach Donovan earlier this week and he sent me a text during the McDonald's game. Right now I'm just going to wait for more communication."
Lucas, who has Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State currently as his top four schools, listed a number of positives about the Florida program.
"Obviously Coach Donovan is a great coach," he said. "He just won two national championships in a row. I'd be coming in with a great recruiting class. And the SEC is a great conference that I like a lot. The football national champion, the women's basketball champion and the men's basketball champion are all from the SEC. It is a power conference, and this is something I need to look into."
The top uncommitted point guard on the board, Lucas is the No. 42 ranked prospect in the Rivals150.
Jai Lucas scouting report:
The son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas, Jai Lucas brings to the court a feel for the game well beyond his years. A good shooter from three, Lucas specializes in scoring with floaters and runners in the mid-range and setting up teammates with his penetration. Adept at pushing the tempo and playing fast with the ball, Lucas does need to continue getting stronger and to continue improving his left hand.