Friday, November 30, 2012

KU’s Lucas eager to see match-up with all the president’s men at Oregon State

Landen Lucas, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward from Portland, Oregon, is one of seven scholarship freshmen on this year's KU team.

Landen Lucas, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward from Portland, Oregon, is one of seven scholarship freshmen on this year's KU team.


— As one of Oregon State’s top targets in recruiting, Landen Lucas developed a close relationship with Beavers basketball coach Craig Robinson, the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama.

“I never got to meet President Obama, but I did talk to him (Robinson) one time on Thanksgiving when he was in the White House having dinner, so I can say I talked to somebody in the White House,” Lucas, Kansas University’s freshman center from Portland said, smiling.

“When he called, he was just moving away from the dinner table with the first family,” Lucas added of Robinson, whose (4-1) Beavers will meet (5-1) KU at 7 tonight in Sprint Center.

“It’s one of the deals in his recruiting process: (If you go to OSU) you get to meet the president. Every year, they play a game in front of him and get to meet him.”

Barring a big surprise, President Obama will not be in Sprint Center tonight. Lucas, who is red-shirting the season (practicing but not playing in games) will, however, still get a chance to meet with Robinson and some of the OSU players he’s played with and against throughout the years.

“When I first saw the schedule, I was looking forward to this game. The coaches have recruited me since eighth grade. They were one of the schools that recruited me the hardest since the first day they could,” said Lucas, whose house in Portland is located about 85 miles from Oregon State’s campus.

“I know a lot of guys on the team, a lot of people from the fanbase. With my dad (Richard) going to Oregon, I’d like to beat them and stuff, but it’s fine (that he can’t play). Hopefully we might get a chance to play them again sometime.”

Lucas is impressed with OSU starting big men Eric Moreland (6-10, 215) and Joe Burton (6-7, 295). Moreland averages 8.4 points and 10.4 rebounds a game with 12 blocks in five games, while Burton averages 11.6 points and 5.4 boards. Angus Brandt (6-10 senior) averaged 11.3 points and 8.5 boards in four games before tearing his ACL in a 66-58 win over Purdue on Nov. 19. Oregon State, which runs the old Princeton style offense under former Princeton player Robinson, has also defeated Niagara (102-83), New Mexico State (71-62) and Montana State (78-65) while losing to Alabama (65-62).

“Their big guys are strong,” Lucas said. “They really are going to make up for a nice match-up inside, for sure.”

Some of the Beavers may be surprised when they get a good look at Lucas tonight. He’s already shed the baby fat he brought with him to Lawrence last summer. Let the 6-10, 230-pounder out of Westview High School explain.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Hudy (Andrea, strength coach) every day. I’ve lost 18 pounds,” Lucas said. “That was the first step, losing the weight. Now we’re trying to put it on with muscle. Hudy can see me adding another 10, 15 pounds, but it’s a difference in the 15 from when I first came here.”

Electing to red-shirt — guard and be guarded daily at practice by senior Jeff Withey but not play in games in exchange for a fifth year at KU — proved to be an easy decision.

“The last deal is how many minutes could I possibly get in the long run?” Lucas said. “No matter how much we maxed out, it was really going to be limited because of who was here. Obviously in my mind you feel you could beat out some people. Then it came down to, ‘If you did that, how much would you actually play?’ It came down to, ‘Why waste a year doing that?’ Also my mental state. That can be frustrating getting out there and preparing yourself for a game and maybe only getting in a couple minutes and not getting in the flow. It was the best decision I could have made. It’s like I’m in high school getting to do everything with these guys,” added Lucas, who chose KU over OSU, Washington, Stanford, Cal, Tennessee and Duke.

“I’m making practices like my games, making it a competitive, spirited environment,” Lucas said. “Trying to help the team as much as I can. It sucks when game day comes around ... obviously you want to be out there playing. I can see where I can assert myself on the floor and next year, having it only be my freshman year, I can bring a lot to the team.”

Shootout: Tonight’s game is billed as the BMO Harris Bank Kansas City Shootout. It’s the Jayhawks’ annual regular-season game in KC. KU recently beat Washington State and Saint Louis in Sprint Center as part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, which drew about 10,000 fans per game in the building that seats 18,972.

Tonight’s game is on KU’s season-ticket package.

“The first time wasn’t any indication of Kansas fans,” Self said. “I mean that was a third party marketing it and selling it, but yes, the crowds were poor. I still love going over there and hopefully we can have 16-17,000 in there Friday night.”

KU’s volleyball team plays Cleveland State in an NCAA Tournament match at 6:30 tonight at Allen Fieldhouse.

“I said last night (on his radio show), I don’t want our fans not to come to the Sprint Center to go support volleyball. If they have basketball tickets, come to basketball. Go to see Ray (Bechard, volleyball coach) the next day (Saturday in second round if KU wins Friday). But if you’re not planning on going to the basketball game, then go watch Ray and his team because they are fun to watch,” Self said.

KU coach Self on OSU: “They are really, really long. They probably would be about as big a team as we will play this year. It kind of reminds me, from a height standpoint, like what Baylor was last year.”

Self on OSU coach Robinson, who is 68-72 in five seasons: “Craig and I played against each other in 1983 in Corvallis, Ore., believe it or not, coincidentally, in the NCAA tournament. He played for Pete Carril at Princeton and our immaturity and lack of discipline allowed Princeton to beat us (Oklahoma State), 56-53, running all their stuff.

“He’s a good guy. You would think he’d have a little bit more juice making recruiting calls over the last four years and the next four years than most college coaches would. I wonder if he introduces himself as ‘coach Robinson’ or ‘I’m the president’s brother in law,’” Self cracked.

This, that: This marks the first meeting between the schools. KU (2,075 wins) and OSU (1,644 wins) entered the season second and 20th, respectively, for most victories in NCAA history. ... Legendary OSU coach Ralph Miller attended KU where he played for Phog Allen. Miller, who also played quarterback for KU’s football team, won 359 games in 19 years as the head coach at Oregon State before retiring in 1989. ... Self’s KU teams are 14-4 against Pac-12 schools, including nine straight wins. ... In 2010-11, KU defeated four Pac-12 teams. ... Self tonight is trying for his 275th career win at KU. He has 54 losses.


REHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

I am excited at anticipation of Landen and JoJo in the mix for time at the 5 position next season. And sad that Zach won't be in that mix.


jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

One add on Lucas.

The picture of him above reveals exactly why Self signed him. Self likes swagger. Landen's got it. You can tell by the cocked eye brow and smile.


AsadZ 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr Lucas,

I am very proud of you. By red shirting this year, you have made a very sound decision. I am sure that it was not a easy decision, as like every young player, you want to live your dream and want to be on the field right now. However you have realized that given the current roster situation and your personal development, red shirting this year is in your and KU's best interest down the road.

By reading your comments, I can easily conclude that you are a very intelligent and polished young man. I am sure that with your continued hard work on the court and in the gym with Ms Hudy, and by being a good student of the game learning from Coach Self and other KU coaching staff, you will have a great college and an extremely rewarding Pro basketball career.

Rock Chalk Mr. Lucas.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 4 months ago

May I suggest this .. as guy who has definite and precise political views, I really like this site because it is about KU hoops. Liberal, conservative, whatever. We are KU basketball fans and we can unite in that cause. As hard is it can be, let's try and forget politics here (me included).


hawkdiek 1 year, 4 months ago

I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road and not have their motives questioned!


Jayhawk470 1 year, 4 months ago

Aside from the publicity of being Obama's brother-in-law, what has Coach Robinson really accomplished for OSU in five seasons? So far as I know, Oregon State hasn't made the NCAAs in any of the five years he has been there. A few CBI's along the way, but who cares about that?


midwest_muser 1 year, 4 months ago sad to see that rational discussion of your shameless promotion of Obama is a "violation of the usage agreement" Could you be so kind as to point out where it states that clear and accurate comments specific to your story are not allowed? I noticed that while you chose to "moderate" a comment about the current president, a redirect about Governor Romney was left untouched...Is it too much to hope that you could pretend not to be liberally biased? Kansans did in fact vote against another 8 trillion in debt.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 4 months ago

So, if we're going to delete a comment or two that aren't particularly flattering regarding our president, why not delete the opposing comments?


cajayfan 1 year, 4 months ago

Using the President connection is as slimy as Calipari using rappers. Glad Landen joined KU without any car salesman(no offense)tactics.


Steve Gantz 1 year, 4 months ago

Who's been KU's best redshirt? Am I wrong thinking Rush red shirted one year with the knee? Who else? Anyone?


KansasComet 1 year, 4 months ago

Nothing wrong with Red-Shirting. I think Landen Lucas will benefit from it, physically with our strength and conditioning coach and mentally with just having a year of practice to develop and grow as a player while not losing any eligibility.


Michael Auchard 1 year, 4 months ago

Is it just me, or is Self still holding a grudge for losing back in '83 to Robinson? If so, that's a Jordanesque level of competitiveness.


lv_jhwk 1 year, 4 months ago

I apologize in advance for getting this thread back on topic, but...

I've always wondered why more players don't redshirt, especially those who end up going to the prep schools. Yes, I realize that in some cases its due to grades and similar factors, but you also often hear that someone wanted to prove themselves against better competition.

Now, surely a few are kids who felt overlooked and think a year at a prep school could bring a better offer. But in the case of someone like Lucas, who was at Findlay Prep here for a year before returning home for his senior season, surely he will benefit more from being around the coaches and trainers for a season before stepping on the court for the first time. All he has to do is look at Traylor for evidence of that.


HawkKlaw 1 year, 4 months ago

I think it's cool how interested in college basketball (and sports in general) Obama is. Politics aside, he's the only President I can remember being that vocal about sports.

I don't end up on either side of the "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots" game, so my opinion is probably less valid than most of yours, but frankly I think it's awesome how upset people get about which pawn is chosen to sit in a chair in an oval office. Keep griping. Life will get better because of it.


dylans 1 year, 4 months ago

Come on guys, this is a day that we shouldn't see trolls on this site. Kentucky lost and MU's Dixon is a twice accused rapist no longer on the team, so lets enjoy the nice day and leave politics out of the KU basketball forum.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 4 months ago

Gee..I guess the lack of bipartisan co-operation and tolerance is not limited to the Congress!! For the winners, quit gloating..for the losers, quit bitching. We're all on the U.S.S. America and it's heading for the falls!!

Everybody better put their oars in the water and row like Hell !!!


Jo Jo + Landen = Jeff?????


midwest_muser 1 year, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


Ron Prichard 1 year, 4 months ago

"Legendary OSU coach Ralph Miller attended KU where he played for Phog Allen."

Ahh, the Kansas legacy knows no bounds. When you look at the legendary coaches that came out of KU or have strong ties to KU, it truly is staggering.


Jayhawk470 1 year, 4 months ago

If we can't vote the Obamanation out of office, I suppose the next best thing we can do is embarrass his brother-in-law's team. 2016 can't get here soon enough.


jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

Red shirting makes for good scout teams.

It seems to help guys graduate, too, which is important to the program's standing.

Wear and tear is a minus.

So is losing a year of earnings playing professionally, if you can.

I always wonder if Cole should have shirted to get bigger before starting, but it was best not to for the dollars.


ParisHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

I would think Coach Self does what he can to make players "fully understand the red-shirt option".

You can red-shirt one year and still play four years.

Or you can transfer, sit out a year and still play four years.

If you red-shirt somewhere, then transfer, you sit two seasons and you lose a year of eligibility.

That is why Self said recently "I only red-shirt a guy I think can help the team down the road." He's not going to red-shirt a guy then make him transfer. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think that has happened once in Self's tenure.

So if a guy leaves instead of red-shirting, either Self or the guy didn't like the way his future at KU was shaping up.

In the case of Royce Woolridge, media reports made me think Self wanted him to red-shirt and he didn't. So he was halfway out the door before the season started.

Maybe Self succeeds with the red-shirts because he knows how to pick his spots. If he did it too much, his success rate might go way down. I think he would rather recruit 1ADs and 2ADs than RA5s.


Chris Shaw 1 year, 4 months ago

In the "Me Now" instant gratification society we live in (Especially the sports world) it's great to see a kid like Landen Lucas understand what his potential and role could be over his 4 or 5 year career. It's also good to see Self and Staff make a commitment to the kid and see that he could impact the program a great deal in his Junior and Senior years.

As much success as Bill Self has had recently with red-shirting players (Morningstar, Withey, Releford, and Indirectly with Traylor and McLemore due to academic reasons) you would think going forward that Self at the bare minimum would red-shirt at least one player and if the opportunity presents itself possibly two players every year.

I always love Self's statement in regards to redshirting and I am paraphrasing here: "We are substitutiing Age 23 for Age 18".

Looking back, you wonder what could have happened with guys like Appleton, Q. Thomas, Woolridge and Lindsey had they red-shirted, been given the opportunity to red-shirt and or fully understand the red-shirt option.

I mean, had Q. Thomas and Woolridge red-shirted, who knows how much they could have impacted or helped out the squad last year. We will never know, but I like the option of red-shirting a lot better than I do coming to a school for a year and then transferring out.


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