Lucas decides to transfer from Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida sophomore guard Jai Lucas, the son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas, has decided to transfer.
The 5-foot-11 point guard and his mother met with Gators coach Billy Donovan on Wednesday. Donovan said Lucas will remain in school this fall and then enroll elsewhere before the spring semester.
"It's something you don't really plan," Lucas told KRIV-TV in Houston. "Sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do, but it will be best for me in the long run."
He said he has made no decisions on his future.
"I am wide open," Lucas said. "I have nothing but time, so there is no real rush."
Lucas averaged 8.5 points last season and led the Gators in 3-point shooting at 43.5 percent. He started all 36 games last season, as well as the team's first exhibition game Monday night.
"There was a point where Jai wasn't totally happy and wanted to try to make it work," Donovan said. "And I think there's probably a lot of contributing factors -- being far away from home and not feeling like it's the best fit for him is how he put it."
Donovan said Lucas wanted to play the point, a spot Nick Calathes has secured. Instead, Lucas has been relegated mostly to shooting guard.
"I don't think he was mad about that, but I don't know if [he wanted] to play over there that much," Donovan said. "On any team, there's a little bit of give and take by everybody. I don't blame Jai. He's got to be happy. There's no reason to go through your career and say, 'Hey I'm unhappy every day coming to practice.'"
Lucas' playing time might have diminished, too.
Freshmen Erving Walker and Ray Shipman were competing with Lucas for playing time, and highly touted recruit Kenny Boynton has committed to attend Florida next season and could take away even more minutes.
Lucas told KRIV his departure was not an indication of problems with Donovan.
"He understood where I was coming from," Lucas said. "He wants me to be happy and that's all you can ask from a coach.
"I have no hard feelings. I love Billy Donovan. We are just going in different directions," he said.
Lucas is the eighth Florida player to transfer since the 2003-04 season, a list that includes Mario Boggan, Ryan Appleby, Rashid Al-Kaleem, Mohamed Abukar, Jimmie Sutton, David Huertas and Jonathan Mitchell.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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