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Original Issue

Chemistry Lesson

The last two undecided All Americans may go as a package

JOHN LUCAS, theformer NBA guard and coach, says putting together a good basketball team issimple: "If you've got a point guard and a power guy, you've got a chanceto win." That's why Lucas has advocated that his son Jai and Jai's friendPatrick Patterson team up to choose a college. The seniors—the only twoMcDonald's All Americans who have yet to decide on a college—first playedtogether at the NBA Players Association camp in Richmond last June. The5'10," 150-pound Lucas, who averaged 25.0 points and 7.5 assists this yearat Bellaire (Texas) High, supplies speed, and the 6'8", 230-poundPatterson, of Huntington (W.Va.) High, brings brawn. "Pat's a great bigman," Jai says. Patterson, who averaged 18.8 points and 16.0 rebounds, saysthe elder Lucas's pitch has been persuasive: "He says Jai makes me a betterplayer, and that's true."

If they go as apackage, it could be good news for Kentucky, the only college that both havepublicly acknowledged as a possibility—Lucas's list includes Maryland,Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Minnesota, while Patterson is considering Duke,Florida, Virginia, Wake Forest and West Virginia. But John Lucas says that Jaimay have "one or two other schools" in play, and each player wants tosee whom Kentucky hires to replace departed coach Tubby Smith.

Patterson, whohas a 3.5 GPA and may study computer engineering in college, hopes to choose bymid-April. "I weigh out my decisions," he says. Jai has no timetablebut is following his father's request to give suitors a long look."Everybody can put on a good dog-and-pony show, but I want to catch youwith your bedroom dirty," says John Lucas, who was an All-America inbasketball and tennis at Maryland.

At the McDonald'sgame in Louisville on March 28, each received come-ons from the other players.Duke recruit Taylor King says that he and the two other future Blue Devilsthere, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, strategized on how to edge out NickCalathes, of competing school Florida, for Patterson's attention: "Oneperson ties up Nick, and we go get [Patterson]," King said with alaugh—proving John Lucas's point about the value of players who can worktogether.


• MICHAEL BEASLEY (below) scored 23 points on 10-of-13shooting and had 12 rebounds to take MVP honors in the East's 114--112 win inthe McDonald's All American game. The power forward from Notre Dame Prep(Fitchburg, Mass.), who is headed to Kansas State, had six offensive boards,several of which he dunked back in.

• THE MOST EXCITING of the game's dunks in anotherwise numbing procession: a baseline drive and tomahawk slam from JohnnyFlynn, a 6-foot guard from Niagara Falls (N.Y.) High and a Syracuserecruit.

• JASMINE THOMAS won MVP of the girls' game. TheDuke-bound guard from Oakton High (Fairfax, Va.) had 16 points, nine rebounds,six assists and three steals in a 105--76 win for the East.



FAST FRIENDS The quick Lucas (above) bonded with Patterson (left) at an NBA skills camp.



[See caption above]