Jayhawk Bigs to Spend Summer Vacation Playing Abroad
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas 6-10 forwards Landen Lucas and Hunter Mickelson will spend part of their summer vacation abroad sharpening their game.
Mickelson will be part of Guy Rancourt’s USA East Coast Basketball Team that will compete in the 2014 Four Nations Cup in Estonia and Finland, August 4-8, while Lucas will represent Athletes in Action (AIA) in a Baltic Tour of Estonia and Latvia with games, August 8-13.
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin will mentor the USA East Coast team which will train for two days at Columbia University in New York, New York, July 31-August 1. The team will then travel to Tallinn, Estonia, and compete against national teams of Estonia, Slovakia and France, August 4-5-6. From there, the team will ferry across the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki for an August 8 game versus the Finland National Team.
“I’m looking forward to the experience,” said Mickelson, who will be a redshirt junior at KU in 2014-15 after playing two years at Arkansas and sat out last season due to transfer rules. “I haven’t played an official game in a while, so I’m going over there and brushing up a little bit.”
Others on the USA East Coast squad include: Damonte Dodd (Maryland), Mike Gesell (Iowa), Granville Gittens (Baruch), Dusty Hannahs (Arkansas), BJ Johnson (Syracuse), Tyrone Johnson (South Carolina), John Monkam (Lycoming), Tyler Roberson (Syracuse), Sindarius Thornwell (South Carolina) and Adam Woodbury (Iowa).
A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Mickelson averaged 5.3 points and 3.6 rebound in two seasons at Arkansas. In 2011-12 he set the school freshman blocked shots record with 72 and had 111 blocks in his two years at Arkansas.
Lucas will depart August 1 for Boulder, Colorado, where he and the other AIA team will train for four days before departing for Tallinn, Estonia, on August 6. The AIA tour will consist of six games with four in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, August 8-10 and two more in Riga, Latvia, August 12-13. The AIA team coaches are Colorado assistant Mike Rohn and Texas A&M assistant Mitch Vanya.
“Mike (Rohn) contacted me and said they needed a big for the team,” Lucas said. “To find out more, I talked to some of the past KU people that have gone (on AIA trips), like Jeff (Withey) and Christian (Garrett), and they all had great things to say about it. I talked to my family for a little bit and we decided that this was going to be a good opportunity that might help me this summer a lot.”
Joining Lucas on the roster is: Brandon Bolden (Kansas State), Darius Carter (Wichita State), Justin Edwards (Kansas State), Tre Fletcher (Colorado), Ike Nwamu (Mercer), Royce O’Neale (Baylor), Kendall Smith (UNLV) Brian Sullivan (Davidson) and Ish Wainright (Baylor).
As a redshirt freshman at KU in 2013-14, Lucas appeared in 22 games and averaged 4.9 minutes, 1.5 points and 1.4 rebounds. The Portland, Oregon, native twice pulled down five rebounds against New Mexico (12-14) and at TCU (1-25).
“I’m looking forward to just playing, being out there and getting the chance to play a lot,” Lucas said of his upcoming trip. “It’s been a couple years since I have played many minutes, so I think it will be good, especially for the upcoming season.”
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