What He Did Last Year: Even as a freshman, Lucas showed signs of being a constant contender. He received limited minutes, but he already made a significant impact on defense and ranked fourth in the Big Ten for steals. Additionally, he led the team in assists, averaging 3.1 a game and making him a valuable asset on an anemic offense. Lucas’ quality of play never really dipped regardless of the opponent. He averaged 4.8 points per game, which can easily be improved upon with another year of experience.
How He Fits in Underwood’s System: The Illini are very deep at the point guard position, and, due to this, I expect Underwood to run a system with multiple points at once. Lucas proved himself last year and will continue to see plenty of minutes. He is a leader on the team even as a young player, and obviously has the skill to control the game on either side of the ball. Underwood will rely on Lucas, especially early in the season, to be a veteran presence at a young position. Eventually, there is a chance that he will be overshadowed by another guard, but it is doubtful he will ever be left out of the game completely.
What to Expect This Year: Lucas will likely see most of his minutes in defensive, paced situations. He will surely get enough time to show that he is an improved offensive player, but there is a lot of new competition at his position. The additions of Trent Frazier and Mark Smith, both dynamic scorers, will limit his amount of looks. He may not be the one scoring the most points, but he will surely be getting his hands on the ball. Any combination of these point guards on the court at once has the possibility to be deadly.