I had the pleasure of speaking with NBA guard John Lucas III today who’s been a witness to history this past week after seeing Kevin Durant go for 66 points at Rucker Park and 41 points at Nike Pro City. After guarding Durant during his 66 point performance, Lucas outdid him in the next game by scoring 60.
“It was just basketball,” Lucas said. “Rucker Park is legendary so you have to bring your “A” game. When he got 66 points, I felt like I had to match it and be competitive.”
Lucas did that, plus more, in route to his 60-point performance in front of a packed gym, which we’re seeing a lot more of as a result of the lockout.
“Should be broadcasted by everybody,” Kevin Durant said about Lucas’ performance. “Everybody should know. The way he played was unbelievable. He got it easier tonight than I got it last night. He had a hell of a game.”
“I’m sure it meant a lot for the fans seeing Kevin Durant playing for free on a street ball type level,” Lucas said. “No plays are really called so it’s usually man-to-man and the fans really enjoy it.”
While scoring 60 points in a game (22-41 from the field, 6-19 on three pointers and 10-11 free throws) opened fan’s eyes to John Lucas III’s skills, which weren’t seen much with the Chicago Bulls this past season, the NBA Lockout is still a factor.
Lucas played in only two games with the Bulls this past season but is ready to contribute next season in any way possible to take the Chicago Bulls back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
“We had a good team with a great nucleus,” Lucas said. “We had a young team and nobody expected us to do this well. My goal is to fit in a role to contribute on and off the court next season and get better myself.”
Of course I asked Lucas about the dreaded NBA Lockout situation and what he thinks about the chances of a deal getting done before the season is scheduled to start. Lucas is optimistic about the upcoming NBA season and is hoping a deal can get done soon.
“Hopefully they get everything squared away because I love basketball,” he said. “I’m going to start going to the meetings to get a better understanding, but we haven’t gotten anything in stone besides a few emails back and forth. We need a deal that will make everybody happy. Hopefully, if a deal is not done by the beginning of the season, it can at least be done by late November.”
He’s played overseas himself and claims stars leaving for overseas deals might scare NBA commissioner David Stern but is pretty sure the NBA’s popularity won’t be in jeopardy after the lockout.
“As soon as the lockout is over, you have to report back to your team in the NBA. You can’t stay over there. Jordan Farmar just signed a deal in Israel but as soon as the lockout is over, he’ll have to come back.”
While Lucas is optimistic about getting a deal done without missing much of the season, he’s also traveling between New York and Houston, staying in shape and playing as much basketball as possible.
“Wherever that ball is bouncing, I want to be there,” he said. When he’s not in New York dropping 60 points on Kevin Durant, Lucas is in Houston with his dad at what they call “The Lab.”
Lucas is actually a second generation NBA player and is following in the footsteps of his dad, John Lucas II. The elder Lucas trains NBA athletes, working on everything from ball handling to shooting skills. The Lab has seen the likes of J.R. Smith, T.J. Ford and Chris Wilcox and will now be the subject of a documentary that John Lucas III is working on called “The Gym.”
Lucas is getting his feet wet in putting together this documentary which chronicles NBA and D-League player’s lives and what the fans don’t see during the off season when they are training and preparing for the NBA season.
“A lot of fans see us and think we play for six months and rest for the rest of the year, but we’re always traveling, so you miss out on a lot of stuff too,” he said. “Hopefully in the next coming months I’ll have a finish product to put on the table.”
While we’re waiting for the release of the documentary, we’ll be keeping tabs on Lucas to see if he can outdo his 60-point performance in upcoming games.
As for his thoughts on playing with the Bulls: “Chicago has the best fans in the world. Every game is sold at the Madhouse on Madison and the fans are always cheering us on.”