Italee Lucas Carrying Carolina Tradition With Shock

Carolina blue has been infused with Shock yellow during the 2011 training camp as the Shock currently have four former Tar Heels on the roster – Marion Jones, Rashanda McCants, Ivory Latta and second round selection Italee Lucas.

“We had a little discussions before training camp started, talking about North Carolina, how some of the plays that we ran, Coach Richardson runs as well,” Lucas said. “We have even been reminiscing about our past coaches."

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The Shock selected Italee Lucas in the second round (21st overall) in the draft after being enamored with her speed and ability to score at North Carolina.

“I’m going to say she’s a two or a three. She’s a scorer and attacker that can shoot the three,” General Manager and Head Coach Nolan Richardson said. “She’s a tough little lady and she has some quickness. The draw fell our way a little bit, I think. She was a potential first rounder.

In 2010-11, Lucas averaged 15.8 points on 43.3 percent shooting from the field while being named to the ACC All-Tournament team and second team All-ACC. Now on her fourth day of practices, there’s one glaring difference between the college and professional game that Lucas has attempted to adapt to early in camp - speed.

“The speed,” Lucas said. “I think the speed is different but coming from North Carolina, we run a fast paced game and I think that’s helped me a lot coming into this program.”

Lucas is one of three point guards currently competing in Shock training camp alongside Latta and UCLA Alumni Darxia Morris. Off-season acquisition Andrea Riley is remains sidelined after having a baby in the off-season.

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“It’s been interesting, getting to know the girls, the coaches and the system so it’s been fun. I’ve been learning a lot here and hopefully it continues,” Lucas said. “Coach Richardson is a chill guy. He wants you to learn. He teaches you to the best of his ability.”

Lucas along with many of her colleagues and friends around the league are competing in training camps across the country in the WNBA and amidst two-a-days, her mantra remains the same as she attempts earn a spot on the Shock’s 2011 roster.

“Stay true to my game but be open to learning, open heart, open ears, open eyes, just be open to everything and work hard,” Lucas said.

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