Florida coach Billy Donovan said he doesn’t intend to place any restrictions on where sophomore guard Jai Lucas transfers, even if it’s within the Southeastern Conference.
“I’ve never been a big believer of preventing somebody from going to whatever school,” Donovan said. “Now if it was something I felt like that tampering was going on or maybe something to do with maybe the kid wanting to leave, then maybe I’d say that school was off limits. But Jai is free to go anywhere he wants to go to school. I think you only have so many years to play in college. He’s a good kid. He worked hard for me. He represented the school the right way.”
For Donovan, there’s a recent precedent. Two years ago, Donovan allowed former UF guard David Huertas to transfer to Ole Miss without sitting out an extra year. Under NCAA Division I rules, a player that transfers within the conference can be held out of competition for up to two years unless he’s granted a waiver from the former coach. Donovan granted Huertas the waiver, and Huertas sat out just one season.
Lucas’ father, John, said last week he’s received calls from a few SEC schools, including LSU and Arkansas. Both schools are closer to Houston. Lucas and his father both acknowledged homesickness played a role in the decision to transfer.
“If he happened to go to the SEC, would I be happy about that? Probably not,” Donovan said. “But at the same point, it’s his life, it’s his career. It’s his future and you know what, I was certainly happy when he chose Florida and if he chooses somewhere else in the SEC, that should be his prerogative.”