Like father, like son

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Whatever you do, don't ask Jai Lucas to make you a hamburger.

Growing up the son of former NBA star, John Lucas II, Jai didn't appear to have a wide range of career choices.

And in the summer of 2003 -- when Lucas was 13-years-old -- the elder Lucas helped his son narrow it down to a field of two. "He told me I could be in the gym working on my game for five or six hours or I could work at McDonald's for five or six hours," the freshman Florida guard said.

Jai says his father's mandate was made mostly in jest. John Lucas was hardly the over-the-top parent screaming from the bleachers, living vicariously through his children.

The former Maryland star was trying to instill the work ethic it would take for his son to succeed in college, and hopefully beyond.

"I just wanted to play basketball," Jai Lucas said. "He didn't push me towards anything. And once I decided I wanted to play basketball he said, 'If you're going to play basketball, you're going to have to do it the right way.' And that was the decision I made."

Naturally, there are certain advantages that come with being the son of a former NBA player and the coach who drafted Cleveland Cavaliers star Lebron James in 2003.

While most prep stars can only dream of mixing it up with the NBA finest, Lucas had the privilege of playing with them on a regular basis.

The Fonde Recreation Center in Lucas' hometown of Houston was the site of many pick up games involving the likes of Damon Stoudemire, Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley and T.J. Ford.

Those pickup games served as a great learning experience for Lucas, who is generously listed at 5-foot-11.

"All the time -- all the time -- that was all we did during the summer," Lucas said of the pickup games. "That helped me a lot on the court, just playing against bigger and stronger guys."

If being younger and less experienced wasn't enough of a handicap, John Lucas added yet another obstacle to his son's pickup games. Jai was forced to play with a 40-pound vest while he played five-on-five games against the world's best.

"I hated that," he said. "Not only playing against those guys but playing with the vest on made it so much tougher."

Jai Lucas wouldn't trade those experiences for anything, though. Having a father who has already lived his dream makes things easier on Jai. He not only has a father, but he also has a mentor and a friend.

"I talk to my dad every day. We talk about everything from basketball to what's going on," he said. "He's taught me a lot of things, so I can really look up to him."