Notebook: John Lucas on hand to cheer son

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 12:18 a.m.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. John Lucas said his son, Florida point guard Jai Lucas, wasn't looking for any advice over Christmas break.

"He said, 'Dad, I've already got a coach,' " Lucas said.

Lucas made the trip to Tuscaloosa to watch his son start his first Southeastern Conference game Tuesday night. The former NBA coach and point guard sat behind the Florida bench in sweats and a striped shirt, cheering each Florida basket.

Lucas cheered loudest when his son hit a 3-pointer at the first half buzzer, cutting Alabama's lead to 47-40 at halftime.

"I'm really pleased with the way that (Florida coach) Billy (Donovan) is bringing them along," Lucas said. "Everybody is getting a chance to play. When you've got young guys, you might as well do it that way."

Lucas said he's been pleased with his son's progress: "He's coming along. In Billy's system, he's been able to distribute with Nick Calathes and Walter Hodge in the backcourt and has been able to drive to the basket and get some points. I'm happy for him."

Lucas first watched his son play at Florida last November against Florida State at the O'Connell Center.

"Loved the O'Connell Center," Lucas said. "I was surprised there was enough room for both football and basketball at Florida. Football is still the main sport, but there was a lot of passion for basketball there."

Lucas is based in Houston, where he runs the John Lucas Basketball Resource Center, a workout center for youth and professional players. He currently has 18 players working out. His oldest son, John, recently left the center to play for a professional team in Italy.

"We've had Kobe (Bryant), come through there, LeBron (James), all before they went to the pros," Lucas said.

Steele on mend

Alabama point guard Ronald Steele received a loud ovation from the student section at Coleman Coliseum after making a few 3-pointers during pregame warmups.

Steele, redshirting this season after undergoing surgeries on April 3 and Aug. 23 to fix cartilage defects in both knees, resumed practicing with the Tide this week. He'll serve as the scout-team point guard until he returns for his senior year next season.

Steele acknowledged it will difficult to watch games from the bench the rest of the season.

"The SEC is when it really counts," Steele told the Birmingham News. "Being in that environment, it's going to be really hard. Hopefully, I can help the team get ready."


Scouts from nine different NBA teams attended Tuesday night's game. ... Alabama's basketball team finished with a fall grade-point average of 3.12. Sophomore Alabama forward Demetrius Jemison, a marketing major, finished with a 4.0 in the fall semester. ... Freshman Florida forward Chandler Parsons (flu) made the trip and played 11 first-half minutes, scoring a basket on a putback.

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