Graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in three years and spent his senior year in post-graduate studies. The Cincinnati Royals had reportedly been considering Lucas since before their arrival to the city of Cincinnati in 1957.

A February game held at Cincinnati Gardens against rival Hamilton, itself a nearby former state champion, drew over 13,000 at a time when crowd sizes of that kind were uncommon at any level of the game. That loss ended a state-record 76 game win streak. During his college career, he had stated repeatedly that he would never turn pro. His role on the team would again be chiefly rebounding and other support play, but he scored 20 or more points several times, and led the league in field goal percentage as a rookie. His outside shooting, often well past today's three point line, changed defensive strategies, as opponents were forced to send their big man 20 feet from the basket to guard Lucas. In the NBA, the Cincinnati Royals had long held that league's rights to Lucas, having drafted him as a high schooler with a territorial selection, which was allowed in the league then. [15] In addition to publicized scrimmages against an 11-11 1958-59 Ohio State varsity, the freshman Lucas was also asked by Woody Hayes to tutor Ohio State football players in their studies. Nicknamed Hondo, he was drafted with the No. He was fifth in the league in rebounding in an NBA that now had 17 teams.

Middletown's schedule often featured strong teams from Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, but remained undefeated. Middletown then called itself "The Basketball Capital of Ohio", based on the success of the basketball teams from the town's one high school. A tall youth, Lucas was encouraged to take up the game and soon dedicated himself to the town's game.[8]. [1] He is the only three-time Big Ten Basketball Player of the Year,[citation needed] and was named the NCAA Player of the Year in 1961 and 1962 by the United States Basketball Writers Association (now Oscar Robertson Award), the Associated Press, and the Sporting News. He suffered just one loss as a senior, a 63-62 defeat in a state semi-final game against Columbus North. © - use subject to the information collection practices disclosed in our Privacy Policy. [18] Despite the physical play near the basket during those Games, Lucas received just six free throws total, but shot 80% from the floor to be a top scorer. He chose San Francisco. Jerry Lucas Fans Also Viewed . He was the smallest center in the league, and many were skeptical about how Lucas and the Knicks would do with this lineup.

Lucas also played very well, averaging 20.8 points on 50% shooting, 9.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 46.6 minutes in the series against the Lakers and Wilt Chamberlain. Signing the locally well-known Middletown and Ohio State star surged ticket sales for the team which had steadily declined in the two seasons before his signing. A straight-A student with a penchant for memorizing his school work, Lucas had started to develop memory games for himself as early as age nine. He also studied investment opportunities and tax shelters. But at 31, Lucas had what may have been his best pro season, leading the Knicks in rebounds and shooting accuracy, and second on the team in both scoring and assists to Walt Frazier. He is a writer and actor, known for The Perfect Summer, The Way It Was (1974) and The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame... (1999). One trick he would be known for was his ability to take words apart and reassemble them quickly in alphabetical order. Lucas was soon forced to declare bankruptcy. Lucas was badly injured against Wake Forest in the semifinal preceding his rematch against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. In 1972–73, Reed, the New York team captain and star, returned. |  Having toured the Soviet Union in 1961 as that team's big star, Lucas was reportedly requested by these countries for the 1964 NBA tour. Other Works That team played games in Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev with Lucas starring at center, and won all eight games played.

That team was coached by basketball Hall of Famer Red Auerbach and included several Boston Celtics, in addition to his Cincinnati pro teammate, Oscar Robertson. The Knicks needed a big man to back up their starting center Willis Reed and power forward Dave DeBusschere. In 1969, Bob Cousy took over as coach of the Royals, who had again missed the playoffs in the tough NBA East Division of the day.

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