Having spent two seasons at Texas as a player and seven as an assistant, Jai Lucas knows the Longhorns better than almost anyone. So, when the news broke a few weeks ago that Kentucky is playing Texas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge this season, he had quite a different reaction than the rest of the coaching staff
“It was just kind of — just shook my head,” Lucas told reporters this morning. “I’ll be excited to see everybody down there. I still keep in contact with a lot of the players and the staff and stuff like that.”
Texas is considered a Top 20 team by most college basketball writers. The Longhorns return most of last year’s squad that won five of its last six games and was on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament before the pandemic hit. Five-star big man Greg Brown, a former UK target, also joins the fold, making the matchup especially intriguing.
“I was telling some of the people here, they have a really good team,” Lucas said of Texas. “They have a Final Four team as well. I think we do have a good team here too, so I think it’ll be a really good game.”
Lucas joined Kentucky’s staff in late August and is already making noise on the recruiting trail. When asked, he said it’s “refreshing” to be at a basketball school like Kentucky as opposed to a football school like Texas.
“It’s nothing against Texas or anything, but football is king down there in every aspect, in high school, middle school, everything. Just being up here in Kentucky and interacting with people, you understand how big basketball is. It’s not just the University of Kentucky, but high school, how they talk about it and know all the players and stuff like that, so it’s very refreshing for a basketball person to be at a basketball place.”
Something tells me Texas Sports Radio didn’t cover Lucas’ recruitment quite as closely as we did back in the day.