in recent months as she waited to decide her basketball future. The 5-foot-6 point guard had attracted interest from schools up and down the East Coast, but an actual scholarship offer was slower to materialize.
But once Coppin State came through with an offer, the recruiting process moved moved at warp speed. Lucas an offer from the Eagles on Jan. 23, visited the Baltimore school 10 days later and signed a nation letter of intent to play there last Wednesday.
“I was pretty confident,” said Lucas, who averages 17.2 points per game. “I just kept doing what I was doing. Something was going to be there.”
Coach Michael Strother said Coppin State Coach Derek Brown became interested in Lucas after watching her in a loss against Forest Park in the Tina Thompson She Got Game Classic back in December. He extended the scholarship offer last month, the day after attending Gwynn Park’s 61-33 win at Forestville.
Lucas, a four-year varsity player with about 1,100 career points, said she decided to accept based on her easy relationship with Brown and her future teammates. During her official visit, she watched Coppin State beat Norfolk State in a festive Homecoming atmosphere, and orally committed on Feb. 3 before returning to Brandywine. She later made it official during a signing ceremony at her school.
“That’s going to be my life for the next four years, so I had to make sure I made the right decision,” Lucas said. “I think I did.”
Now Lucas, who missed Friday’s win over Central with a lingering rib injury, can focus her attention on closing out her high school career in style. Gwynn Park will clinch its second straight Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A title by winning one of their final two regular season games this week. The team beat rivals Largo and Friendly by a combined 51 points the first time around.
But Lucas has her eyes on a bigger prize. The Yellow Jackets lost to Fallston in the Maryland 2A final in 2010 before falling to eventual state champion Calvert the past two years. She said anything less than a state title will be disappointing.
“I didn’t like the feeling of losing the [state] final in 9th grade,” Lucas said. “I don’t want to feel like that again. Twelfth grade is going to be different.”
This year, Gwynn Park and Calvert have two losses apiece, and Strother said if they both win out the top seed in the Maryland 2A South playoffs will be decided by a coin flip at the state draw.