Greatest Basketball Players - Jerry Lucas - Ohio State Buckeyes
March 22, 2008 AT 9:00 AM
Greatest NCAA College Basketball Careers of All Time: Jerry Lucas Born in Ohio in 1940, Jerry Lucas dominated basketball from an early age. He broke nearly every Ohio state high school record while leading his team to two undefeated seasons and two state championships. He became arguable the first high school player to be known coast to coast, even though television was still young in just the mid-fifties. Scouts traveled thousands of miles to see Lucas play throughout high school and this led to him being offered a ridiculous 150 athletic scholarships. Choosing close-to-home Ohio State over Adolf Rupp and Kentucky, Lucas was a major factor in putting Ohio State on the map when it came to American collegiate basketball. After Lucas finished his freshman season and was eligible for varsity, he went on to lead the team and nation in shooting accuracy for all three years he played. Teamed up next to John Havlicek, Ohio State would form a team that thrashed opponents and went on a 78 and 6 tear from 1960 to 1962. Lucas and the Buckeyes were national champions in 1960, and made it to the finals in his other two years. Consistently over his college career Lucas was named Big Ten Player of the Year and until 2008 was the only player to earn that honor three times. Also over his three college years Lucas was named an All-American, but perhaps most impressively in 1961 he outranked all college and pro-athletes as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Up until 2008, the 6-9, 240 pound center was the only player in NCAA tournament history to score 30 points while bringing down 30 rebounds in the same game. Along with Havlicek and the other three starters, Lucas was drafted to the NBA. What makes this stat impressive is the fact that at the time there were only nine NBA teams with 11 players on each roster. Most experts still rank Lucas as the greatest player to play in the Big ten conference. However for Lucas the draft had come in 1957 while he was still in high school. The Cincinnati Royals had claimed Lucas as a territorial pick, however he did not decide to join the team until 1963 because of commitments with his post-graduate degree as well as a contract with George Steinbrenner and the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League.