Thursday, June 24, 2004

XU trying to figure out point guard situation

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

Three and a half months from the first day of practice, Xavier coaches are trying to deepen their roster at point guard this week with Churchill Odia's visa situation still unresolved.

Dupree Lucas, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Redlands (Okla.) Community College, has been on campus since Tuesday night and could be close to making a commitment. He is finishing his visit today.

"I could decide as soon as Friday," Lucas said. "It depends on how things go here."

A season-long starter last season for Redlands, Lucas would be able to begin playing Division I basketball this fall as a sophomore. He played just one season at Redlands but qualified academically for Division I out of Southeast High School in Wichita, Kan.

As Odia's visa problems progressed, Xavier contacted Lucas' coach, Steve Eck, near the end of April to inquire about Lucas.

"They liked him before that," Eck said, "but they weren't sure what was going to happen with their guard situation."

Lucas also has visited Saint Louis and is considering Missouri, Wisconsin and Nevada in addition to Xavier. He has tentative plans to make more visits but said he will cancel those if he chooses Xavier this week.

In leading Redlands to the No. 1 junior college ranking last season, Lucas averaged seven points a game.

"He could have scored a lot more than he did," said Eck, whose team finished as the NJCAA national runner-up. "He came in as a combo guard, more two than point guard. But we worked with him a lot. He's a real good passer and was one of our best defensive players."

Xavier's only returning point guard is junior Dedrick Finn. The Musketeers have an incoming combo guard in freshman Stanley Burrell and hope to have the 6-6 freshman Odia on the roster by the time school starts in August.

Including Odia, Xavier has 11 of its 13 scholarships filled.



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