Luke Loucks' whirlwind summer never seems to slow. The Clearwater senior point guard started the mid-year break with a bang, announcing his oral commitment to Florida State. Then it was off to the Steve Nash point guard camp, then the elite-only LeBron James Skills camp.
Then, things got even better. Loucks recently was selected to play in the Nike Global Challenge, Sunday-Tuesday in Portland, Ore. The showcase pits the top 40 high school players in the nation against U19 players from China, Senegal, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The Times caught up with Loucks to chat about his country-wide travels, NBA stars and the upcoming basketball season.
What was your experience like at Steve Nash's camp?
It was cool. There were the top 10 college point guards, like Greg Paulus (Duke), guys you grew up watching. Steve Nash would come during our drill sessions and run them. We didn't scrimmage, but he'd give input and do the drills with us.
How was Nash's camp different than LeBron's?
The Steve Nash one was a lot more drill work; it's hard to play 5-on-5 with five point guards. The LeBron camp was more of a team-orientated thing. There were the top 80 guys in the country, and NBA coaches ran the camp. We practiced together and played games.
What was your team like?
It was great. I had the No. 1 player in the nation - Greg Monroe - and the No. 4 Tyreke Evans. We hung out a lot and became friends. That was the neat part of it. And I didn't have to worry about scoring or any of that, I just played my role and passed the ball. With those guys, every pass was a guaranteed make.
What part of your game have you most improved?
Probably my quickness and shooting. I feel like by working out, I'm a little quicker and play better defensively. I'll be playing in the ACC, and there's so many quick guards - I'm definitely going to hone in on defense and be smart about how I play it. Not everyone is super quick and super athletic. Like Larry Bird; he was one of the leaders in steals and he was slow as molasses.
Flash forward: Who is the basketball team to beat in the county next season?
Lakewood is always strong. They'll have (Mike) Morrison and (Shamon) Cox, and coach (Dan) Wright always does a great job - I'm sure they'll be top notch. Pinellas Park is really good; we played them at the USF tournament. Coach (Allen) Carden is doing great things with his two boys. They'll be up there. And I think we'll be really good, too. Everyone has improved.
The million-dollar question: Will you play football for Clearwater in the fall?
(Laughs). I'm still trying to figure it out. In the next week or two, I'll know. The (FSU coaches) weren't totally against it, but weren't totally for it either. I'd love to play, but you've got to think about what's important for the future. ...
Now that basketball recruiting is over, I'm getting a lot of football letters. I don't think these guys know I'm committed (laughs). I guess I'll have to fill them in.
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com or at (727) 893-8129.