Gators beat Kentucky for prized recruit

Gators beat Kentucky for prized recruit

Gators beat Kentucky for prized recruit
May 14, 2007
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Jai Lucas picked Florida over Kentucky, just like his future college coach.

The McDonald's All-American and son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas said Monday he will sign a letter of intent to play Florida and coach Billy Donovan.

Lucas picked Florida over Kentucky and Oklahoma State. He made the announcement at his high school in Bellaire, Texas, near Houston.

"They've lost almost their whole team, mainly the point guard position, Taurean Green," Lucas told the Houston Chronicle. "I feel like if I come in and produce, I can play right away."

Lucas averaged 25 points and six assists as a senior. The 5-foot-10 guard also shot 51 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the free-throw line.

He is one of the last highly touted prospects to sign during the monthlong signing period. Patrick Patterson, a 6-foot-8 power forward and McDonald's All-American from Huntington, W.Va., was expected to announce his decision Wednesday. He has narrowed his choices to Duke, Florida and Kentucky.

Donovan, who passed on a chance to replace Tubby Smith at Kentucky after winning a second consecutive national championship in April, could use both players.

The Gators lost their top seven scorers from last season's title team, the first since Duke in 1992 to repeat as champs. Green, Corey Brewer, Al Horford and Joakim Noah turned pro after their junior seasons, and each of them has signed with an agent, meaning they can't return to school.

That may have made Lucas' decision easier.

Asked when he made his final decision, Lucas told the paper, "About 20 minutes before I walked in here."

Donovan has plenty of experience dealing with sons of famous fathers.

Noah's father is former tennis star Yannick Noah. Horford's dad, Tito, played three years in the NBA and several more overseas. And Green's father, Sidney, was an All-American at UNLV and a first-round pick by the Chicago Bulls in 1983. He spent 10 years in the league and finished his career with 5,080 points and 4,128 rebounds.

Donovan has four other recruits heading to Gainesville this fall -- guard/forward Nick Calathes and forwards Chandler Parsons, Adam Allen and Alex Tyus.

Calathes and Parsons are considered the best of that group. They played together at Lake Howell High in Winter Park, Fla.

Florida can't comment on prospects until they have officially signed.

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