Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rest-less rookie: Big man Landen Lucas leg-weary

Newcomer Landen Lucas waits to check in to the scrimmage on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at the Horejsi Center.

Newcomer Landen Lucas waits to check in to the scrimmage on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at the Horejsi Center.


It’s easy to understand why Landen Lucas missed three floor shots and a pair of free throws during Wednesday’s Bill Self campers game in Horejsi Center.

The huge 6-foot-10, 244-pound Kansas University freshman center has been running on just a handful of hours of sleep all week.

He graduated from Portland (Ore.) Westview High on Monday, followed by an all-night graduation celebration, flew to his new college town Tuesday, then hustled to class and a doctor’s physical exam bright and early Wednesday.


“It’s going to take a minute for me to catch my breath, to get my legs under me. That’ll all come. It was just nice getting out there and getting to play,” said Lucas, who grabbed four rebounds while guarding, and being guarded by, senior Jeff Withey, who scored 16 points with 15 rebounds in the Blue team’s 62-51 victory.

“He’s good, really big and long,” Lucas added of 7-footer Withey. “I’m just starting to figure him out now so hopefully in open gyms and stuff I can do little things. I’m trying to see exactly how I can do work against him, but I can see why he got all those blocks and stuff.”

Lucas, who averaged 19.3 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.8 assists per game his senior season at 18-7 Westview High, hopes to learn a lot from Withey in Withey’s final season at KU.

“The biggest adjustment for me will be the size difference. Everyone is big. Everyone is quick,” Lucas said. “Usually you can find a weakness in a big in high school. Everyone is good here. Getting adjusted to the tempo ... that will eventually come with just playing.”

Lucas received words of wisdom from his dad, Richard, a former standout at the University of Oregon, on Tuesday prior to leaving his hometown for KU.

“He said, ‘Rebound and do the things most people don’t want to do ... what they need from a big. If you do that, you’ll get playing time,’” Landen said. “I need to know my role. The gap is when Withey comes out and somebody needs to be anchor. Any way I can help and come in for him and try to hold it down in the paint, I’ll do it.”

Of finally being in college, Lucas said: “It’s a dream come true for every kid. This is just the start of everything. I’m ready to get started.”

KU’s Withey said he likes what he has seen from the newcomer.

“He’s a big guy. He ran the floor pretty well. It’ll be fun to play with him,” Withey said. “The coaches will get him ready to play.”

Former KU forward Julian Wright scored 13 points, while KU freshmen Perry Ellis and Andrew White had 10 and seven points respectively for the losing Red team. Ellis had four rebounds. Withey, Justin Wesley (12 points, six rebounds) and Travis Releford (10) scored in double figures for the winning Blue squad.

Also for the Blues, freshman Ben McLemore scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. He had the day’s signature play — a vicious one-handed dunk that came off his own miss.

“I followed my shot, saw an opening and dunked it,” McLemore said. “It was fun to play against Julian. Being in the NBA ... I’ve worked out with him sometimes. He shows you that hard work in the gym pays off.”

Minor bumps, bruises: KU freshmen Zach Peters and Jamari Traylor did not play because of minor injuries. Peters took an elbow to the head in a workout this week and was held out for precautionary reasons. Traylor has a knee bruise. Traylor coached the Red team, while KU senior Elijah Johnson, who is out until July 11 following offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, coached the Blues.

Highlights: Wright slam-dunked off a pinpoint pass from Ellis. ... Naadir Tharpe hit a deep two-pointer, just in front of the three-point line. ... Tharpe had a lob pass to Wesley for a slam. ... Ellis dunked off a lob from Aaron Miles. ... White hit a driving layup off a feed from Brady Morningstar.

Scoring: Red team: Julian Wright 13, Perry Ellis 10, Andrew White 7, Brady Morningstar 7, Aaron Miles 6, Niko Roberts 6, Evan Manning 3, Landen Lucas 2 (players were given credit for a made free throw on the first of two-shot fouls, accounting for Lucas’ two points).

Blue team: Jeff Withey 16, Justin Wesley 12, Travis Releford 10, Ben McLemore 8, Jeff Hawkins 8, Naadir Tharpe 7, Christian Garrett 2.


KUfanInFlorida 1 year, 10 months ago

I think Lucas is at least 2 years away before he can become a solid player. KU still needs a center after Withey leaves.


Alohahawk 1 year, 10 months ago

p> is reporting that Dorian Finney-Smith (with 3 seasons left) will transfer to Florida, adding another 6'8" forward to their roster for the 2013-2014 season. Just another plus in KU's recruiting war for Chris Walker. Now, if Walker can just realize Cal Lie Pari has spurned him for too long, for Walker not to do the same back to Kenstinky.


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 10 months ago

If Lucas redshirts with us, I'll take that as a sign he's in it for the long haul. Sleepy or not, he's got a lot of work to do to make the cut at Kansas. For once, actually has some decent highlights of yesterdays scrimmage. BMac and Perry both looked legit, and Withey was playing angry in a pick up game. All good signs. Also, I was impressed with White's length and physique. That kids arms looked longer should-to-fingertip than his legs and he's already buffed up. He'll be one to watch for this year.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

Something tells me that there weren't many "campers" on the floor for this game. Is this a way around NCAA rules that will allow a scrimmage prior to the official start of bball season?

Good call by poster willie_fu_fu...with 8 frosh/red shirt frosh on the roster, it's a great time to go overseas for extra games!!

Best guess in June for first game rotation;

Withey - Peters/Traylor - Lucas [RS] Young - Ellis - Wesley Johnson - Tharpe Ben Mac - Adams - Doyle Releford - White

Coaches kids plus Garrett get to watch.


REHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm wagering that, if Landen stands 10" full inches above 6', he's wearing some hefty arch supports in his sneakers. I'm predicting a barefoot 6'8.5" or less. Whatever, one hopes that he becomes very familiar quickly with the training facilities of A. Hudy LLC to mold those 240 pounds into dynamite.


bennybob 1 year, 10 months ago

Is LJW really already making excuses for Lucas' poor play?


Alohahawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Of note: on their NCAA BB page, has a two main feature stories on the two NBA finals teams, noting the college experiences/expectations for different players on each. Some pretty good write-ups on Chalmers and Collison.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

Comments on a slow news day:

1] Something tells me that Landon better get used to that "red shirt".

2] Looking at the photo.."Perry, I'd like to introduce you to Jeff."

3] Top photo..I'll guess Landon, Evan, Christian and Jamari..would it have killed you to list the other guys as well??

4] 6'-10"/244#'s is a good start..lets shoot for 2" and 16 #'s more.

5] Gawd!!! Jeff looks like a monster!!!

6] Sorry, no Aldrich.....I guess Cole is a little busy right now.

7] It took 151 years but Missouri finally seceded to the Confederacy!!

8] Peanut brittle is OK, but I like Cracker Jack.

9] Out of 348 active Division One head coaches, only 8 have been in a Final Four as well as won a NC: Coach K, Williams, Boeheim, Calhoun, Pitino, Rizzo, Calipari and Kansas Head Coach Bill Self......can we please stop this ridiculous bashing of Bill....I think he knows what he is doing!!!


WilburNether 1 year, 10 months ago

The KC Star article lists Lucas at 6-8. So...are they understating it, or is the LJW reporter engaging in exaggeration?


Robert Brock 1 year, 10 months ago

LOL: I love that photo of Ellis putting up weak stuff for Jeff to slap into the stands.


KemDooKU 1 year, 10 months ago

I figure the only real production is going to be from B-Mac, Ellis, and White with the rest from the regulars of Whithey, EJ, and Travis. Maybe Adams if he signs but I don't think Traylor is much of an offensive threat. Some people were acting like a kid in a candy store with all the new additions but who wants peanut brittle when the other Blue Bloods are getting chocolate.


Mike Bratisax 1 year, 10 months ago

Solid numbers for Lucas his senior year but I don't know anything about the talent level he played against. He's really a big body already and he is only going to get stronger.

Could be a solid player at KU. Fingers crossed.


illuminatironin 1 year, 10 months ago

On another note I was driving through Atlanta the other day and saw a Missouri billboard that read "proud to be SEC". I threw up in my mouth a little bit.


illuminatironin 1 year, 10 months ago

Is there anywhere we can put faces with the names of the new players?


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Highlights: Wright slam-dunked off a pinpoint pass from Ellis. ... Naadir Tharpe hit a deep two-pointer, just in front of the three-point line. ...

Good for Naadir ! I had to laugh though, I've never heard a shot described as a "deep two-pointer". I hope he can hit some "short three pointers" too.


willie_fu_fu 1 year, 10 months ago

Glad they have the games over seas this summer. This team will need some extra time to gel.


phogphan2000 1 year, 10 months ago

Sounds like a great way to get started for the newcomers. Have to love Wesley getting after it and letting the young guys know they have their work cut out for them. Not too read too far into things but nice to see Withey putting up some points. Also sounds like maybe McLemore is going to help Self put an athletic team on the floor which is nice. Between EJ, BMac, TRel, Ellis and Withey it will be tough for most teams to match that size and quickness. I take it KYo is off playing with the Puerto Rican team.

I was just thinking how Self is going to have to modify the offense some from last year's TT and TRob show. I'd love to see more cuts from the wings, particularly with some screens from a guy like Ellis that is big and can hit the mid-range jumper. Lot of fun pieces to work with, I hope Self enjoys putting together some plays that highlight these guys' skill sets.


Lance Hobson 1 year, 10 months ago

It's still just incredible how much of a stud Withey has become.


justinryman 1 year, 10 months ago

What's the big deal with the lack of sleep in college.

I didn't sleep and I'm alive to talk about it. Then again who didn't sleep?

Glad to see Mr. Hawkins in the box score along with Mr. Miles as well.


ukanjhox 1 year, 10 months ago

How many for kid Self and kid Manning? I kid I kid. And boy! I'd have loved to see that 'highlight' of Naadir hitting a 2 point jump shot! That's pretty incredible.


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