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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Landen Lucas back, but not all the way back

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) puts a shot over Stanford center Grant Verhoeven (30) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) puts a shot over Stanford center Grant Verhoeven (30) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Sidelined for a game by a strained muscle in the rib-cage area, Kansas senior center Landen Lucas was back Saturday, but still not all the way back to 2015-16 form.

“I still don’t think I played very well today but it was, I guess, a step in the right direction in a way,” Lucas said. “There’s still a lot of improvement I have to make, but I’m aware of it, so I’m not settling for anything and I’ll keep trying to figure out a way to insert myself.”

Lucas blocked three shots in the first half of KU's and totaled eight points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes of KU's 89-74 victory over Stanford. He also committed four fouls on an afternoon KU’s four primary big men combined for 16 fouls in 52 minutes, most of them committed against Stanford center Reid Travis (29 points, 19 of 22 free throws).

Lucas talked about what he did defensively a year ago that he's not doing this season.

“I was taking away the post, not letting him catch it where he wants to, and that’s not happening this year,” Lucas said. “I think part of it is my aggressiveness isn’t there in my all-around game and that’s mainly due to trying to stay out of foul trouble.”

Lucas’ strength is his chief tool, rebounding his best skill. He never has been as quick or as explosive as most of his teammates, but did seem quicker and more explosive a year ago. The fact he walks with a boot when not playing raises suspicion that a sore foot has been a factor in his sub-par play. If so, he’s keeping that to himself.

“No,” he said. “None of my injuries are really affecting me. Anything on the court is all me.”

Is it a case of keeping the foot from getting worse, or can it get better?

“It’s been getting better, just (by) taking pressure off of it when I’m not playing and just managing how much I am using it, and it’s been getting better,” Lucas said. “We have a great training staff so they’ve definitely been helping me out.”

Of his rebounding, Lucas said, “It’s been terrible, I know that, and that’s something that I need to change, but I also know that’s it’s something I’ve done for years, ever since I was a little kid so it hasn’t gone anywhere and it will come back eventually. I think I’ll make it happen.”

It was pointed out to Lucas that he has let his frustration show more this year than in the past and he did not disagree.

He traced that to, “High expectations for myself going into this season. I’ve got to make sure I manage that because as a senior on this team I can’t do that. I need to get better at that.”

Lucas is in his fifth season at Kansas.

“It’s a long season. I’ve been through these seasons many times now,” Lucas said. “What happens early on in the grand scheme of things isn’t that big, so (I’m) just staying calm and trying to find a way to progress in each game and each practice so that when it does matter, I have it figured out.”

Lucas started the first five games and has come off the bench since. He is averaging 17.9 minutes, 5.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 personal fouls.

By the Numbers: Kansas 89, Stanford 74.

By the Numbers: Kansas 89, Stanford 74.

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Stanford


Comments

Don Everett 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Stick with it Landen. Don't listen to the naysayers!! I thought you played fairly well today. Get healthy and be ready for the stretch run of your senior year!!

Jay Scott 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Deep breaths everyone. Lucas, Bragg and Azubuike will be dominant by March. Coleby and Lightfoot will provide nice depth.

Noah Oone 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed Jay. I think they will eventually put themselves in a better position in the paint so that they will be less likely to foul. Carlton finally did some stuff offensively that I have been waiting for him to do - that pick and pop he did was exactly how Perry would do it. Too often he rolls to the basket and ends up right next to two or three defenders - Perry rolled wider so that he could get an open shot almost every time.

Gerry Butler 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree, people sure seem to jump onto the hater boar real quick, including myself to an extent, well hater might not be the correct word, but people seem to have that doubt quickly, like this year when Landen starts slowly - - If we remember right it was this way last year for the majority of the year with Landen - -people doubting - -arm chair coaching, didn't feel like Landen deserved to be in the line up - -but yet when Coach asked the players who they wanted? - - they said Landen. I agree with Don & Jay both Landen will be fine Bragg will be fine - -saw some progress yesterday I mean Landen just is NOT the quick of an athlete like others on the floor but he works, gives it 100% we don't exactly know for sure what all is going on - we hear what their telling us, BUT what behind the scene he could be hurting worse who knows? anyways we need to stay with him and support him and be not so quick to criticize again that's including myself I get to impatient at times, we going to be fine. - -Give them hell Landen

Harlan Hobbs 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Landen's experience will play a big role if he can stay out of foul trouble. He knows the fundamentals much better than the other "bigs", and while nobody could stop their big guy who is outstanding, I just had a better feeling for the defense when Landen was in the game.

That could all change as Udoka continues to improve, but in crunch time, Landen is still the best alternative in my opinion, if for no other reason than he is a pretty decent foul shooter.

Humpy Helsel 4 months, 3 weeks ago

It will help Landen when he hopefully is at full strength and not having to wear a boot when not on the court. I thought he looked much better yesterday despite not being anywhere near where he was the later quarter of the season last year.

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