Sources: Duke hiring UK’s Lucas as assistant

Sources: Duke hiring UK's Lucas as assistant thumbnail

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    Jeff BorzelloESPN Staff Writer

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    • Basketball recruiting insider.
    • Joined ESPN in 2014.
    • Graduate of University of Delaware.

Duke men’s basketball coach Jon Scheyer is hiring Kentucky‘s Jai Lucas as an assistant coach, sources told ESPN on Friday.

Lucas is the first basketball hire from outside the Duke family since Mike Krzyzewski hired Tim O’Toole as an assistant coach in 1995.

He, along with Chris Carrawell (and Amile Jefferson) is Scheyer’s third and final assistant. Carrawell has been an assistant coach under Krzyzewski since 2018, while Jefferson was promoted from the director of player development position. Scheyer also hired Mike Schrage, Elon’s head coach, to be his special assistant.

Lucas, 33, is considered one of the best young assistant coaches in the country. He is the son of John Lucas, a long-time NBA player and coach. He played college basketball at Florida and Texas, before going on to a brief professional career. After seven seasons with Rick Barnes and Shaka smart at Texas, he went to Kentucky as an assistant coach for two seasons.

“I’ve known the Lucas family for 25 years and followed Jai’s career both as a player and as a coach,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said when he hired Lucas in 2020. Jai was recruited here to play and knows a lot more about the program, as our fans are aware. His work ethic and the relationships he has built have always impressed me. Jai is another man everyone respects for his work ethic and his player-first approach. He will be a great asset. “

The Houston-born Lucas has a lot of connections in Texas. During his time at Kentucky, he helped land Texas products Daimion Collins, Sahvir Wheeler and Cason Wallace. He was also the initial contact for five-star point guard TyTy Washington Jr. and helped with potential top-10 pick Shaedon Sharpe.

The hire was first reported by 247Sports.

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