Jan. 12, 2010
By Brett Brecheisen, Seminoles.com
The baby of every family is tormented. Picked on by his older brothers, embarrassed in front of their friends, and ultimately the punching bag of every joke, older brothers always let the youngest one have it. That is, unless you are a member of the Loucks family.
Luke Loucks, 19, Florida State’s sophomore point guard, grew up the youngest of three boys. And while many boys in Loucks’ situation are spoiled by their parents and beat up by their brothers, Luke was different. He was out playing sports with his older brothers – Jacob, 24 and Nathan, 22 – and their friends.
“I was never really allowed to shoot. My brothers would say you can dribble well so just bring the ball up the court and pass to us and we’ll let you play with us,” Loucks said.
Those pick-up games from when Loucks was younger really molded him into the kind of floor general that you see every night the Seminoles take the court. Another aspect that helped Loucks’ game was his background in football.
Growing up, Loucks not only played basketball, but excelled in football and baseball as well. Loucks was an all-county quarterback on the football team at Clearwater High School.
His experiences in other sports have allowed him to excel at the important tasks associated with being a point guard on the hardwood.
“It’s the same type of situation in football. You have to know where your players are, you have to know the timing and you have to be a leader in the huddle. And that’s the same thing that [Head Men’s Basketball] Coach Hamilton expects from me here. That’s why he recruited me, to run the team and be a floor general on the court,” Loucks said.
Most point guards are considered to be the unselfish distributor of their squads – utilizing an uncanny vision and technique to set up opportunities for others to score. That is most point guards. Florida State point guards have recently been a little different.
Toney Douglas handled most of the point guard duties for the Seminoles in the last three years. Douglas was such a talented scorer that he didn’t need to distribute to jump-start the Florida State offensive attack. Instead, Douglas led the ACC in scoring, was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and was a first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers.
But now that Douglas is gone, someone has had to replace him and that task has fallen to junior Derwin Kitchen and Loucks. The Clearwater, Fla. native fits that point guard prototype exactly and is, as Coach Hamilton explains it, a student of the game.
“Luke has a very good feel for the game. He understands the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents and is always making suggestions watching the game to try to become more and more a student of the game,” Hamilton said.
It is not only his understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents that make Loucks so cerebral in what he does on the court, but also the tendencies of his own players.
“You have to be aware of all of your surroundings. You have to know who is in the game, where they can score from,” Loucks said. “If Chris [Singleton] is playing a big man, you know he can score on the perimeter; whereas if Solomon [Alabi] and Xavier [Gibson] are in the game, they are more inside players. You have to know who is guarding them and what their tendencies are. A lot of it is about timing and knowing where your guys are going to be,” he added.
Finding that chemistry is something the Seminoles coaching staff has really emphasized during the early part of the season and Loucks knows that one of the areas he can help improve that chemistry is in film review.
“Studying film isn’t something that every player wants to do and it is something that I still need to improve on. It really does help when you know what the other team is going to be doing and at what time they’re going to be doing it,” he said.
The hustle and determination of Loucks and his ability to see all nine players on the court at any time are key components for the Seminoles as they march towards a second consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament. When that happens on Selection Sunday, a trio of brothers will grin from ear to ear.