football

Luckett coming out of the shadows

For a guy that's only played eight games in his high school career, Kyle Luckett is a name that could be talked about come June when the NBA draft rolls around. The 7-foot, 225-pound native of Racine, Wis., is living in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and trying to get himself ready for a busy spring and summer and a potential jump to the league.
Never heard of him? Join the club.
To get to know Luckett, rewinding a year to Horlick High School in Racine, Wis. Living in the city that sits on Lake Michigan, Luckett tried his hand at basketball for the first time as a junior. It was his first attempt at organized basketball. The understandable butterflies where there.
"It was like I was in a movie at first," Luckett said. "Everybody that came out to see me play was excited. I was excited, too."
That excitement didn't last too long. A month later, it all fell apart.
His father passed away. He became ineligible to play basketball. So there it was, an eight game high school career was in the books but emotionally he was living in a world where most teenagers can't even comprehend. He was the instant man of a broken and hurt home.
Looking for a fresh start, the athletic big man is living in Ft. Wayne, Ind. He's enrolled at Southside High School. He's being a teenager again. Expect he's looking for a chance to play more than eight games.
"I'm trying to work on getting to the league as soon as I can," he said.
Who isn't these days? Luckett said he's still playing hoops. He gets up at 5 a.m. and works out at the Y.M.C.A. With the help of Eric Vaughn, a pastor and head of Blessed I.J.N. AAU program, Luckett is looking for a big spring and summer to help him prove himself for NBA scouts.
Vaughn said Luckett will play AAU with his team in April and then evaluate the possibilities of jumping in June. If the jury says not right now, a trip to a prep school is in the works, says Vaughn.
"He's definitely talented enough to go (to the NBA)," Vaughn said. "He'll play at the next several events and get that exposure that he needs. Now does he need work? Sure, he needs a lot of it. Does he need to learn more about the game? You bet.
"But here's the thing, he's a super athlete. He's seven feet tall and he's got a wing span of 7-1. You just can't teach that. Right now, we are just preparing him spiritually, socially, academically and athletically."
While the critics may say "I've never heard of him. Who is he to think he can go pro?" - and rightfully so - Vaughn says Luckett is just as talented, and even more athletic, than Indiana super prep Greg Oden.
"Oh, he's a legitimate high-major prospect but the thing is, no one has seen him play," Vaughn said. "People are just now finding out about him. He's a blend of Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal and all of those guys that are long, athletic and competitive."
While the jury is still out, word is spread about this unknown player with a blank basketball résumé. The Washington Wizards have called, Vaughn said. Many others will soon follow.
Luckett said his basketball career started like a movie. So how does it end?
"Me dunking by breaking the glass," Luckett said.
Guess time only tells for that, doesn't it?
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