Utah point guard John Lucas III is looking to seize another opportunity.
The former Oklahoma State standout has started just two games in his NBA career, but will get his third start in Wednesday's season opener against the Thunder with rookie Trey Burke inactive because of a finger injury.
It's been a different path through the NBA for Lucas than his Cowboys days, where he led OSU to the 2004 Final Four. Lucas, though, drifted away from the OSU program until recently.
Lucas sat down with The Oklahoman before the Jazz played the Thunder in the preseason and discussed Oklahoma State, his influence on a top recruit, Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson and more.
Q: With Burke being out, you have a chance for more playing time. What are you looking to prove?
A: Just go out there and do what I've been doing, playing solid, playing under control and bringing good minutes. That's my whole thing, I've just been waiting for opportunities my whole entire career. This is just another opportunity for me to prove myself like I've been proving my whole career at the professional level.
There's no Russell Westbrook right now, but there is Reggie Jackson. What have you seen from him?
Reggie can play. He came in last year when Westbrook went down in the playoffs and took off. When you're able to play, your confidence level is high. He's playing at a high level right now. It's going to be fun, it's going to be good. I like competition and going against the best of the best. It's just another opportunity to go against somebody who can play the game of basketball.
What will be some early keys against a team like the Thunder?
We're going to play tough and play with a lot of energy. We don't need to panic and go out there and do something that we're not used to doing. We just need to play Utah Jazz basketball and I think we can handle ourselves with anybody in the NBA if we play Utah Jazz basketball and listen to Coach (Tyrone Corbin).
How often do you get to keep up with Oklahoma State?
Now, I keep up with them a lot. At first I wasn't because of Coach (Eddie) Sutton and I had loyalty to the family and stuff. But now I start keeping up a little more and watching some of the guys.
They've got Stevie Clark there, who I known a little bit from the NBA Top 100 camp. So I was telling him don't leave the state, stay in the state, go to Oklahoma State. I was kind of pushing that toward them. I see he chose right, though.
How long did it take you to start following OSU again?
Probably like a couple years. I just felt like everybody is biased to some things, you know. I'm just a loyal person and I can't say too much about the Sutton family. They changed my whole career around and the way I thought about basketball and everything, the way I thought about life too. I'm always indebted to their family and I just felt like the way everything was handled kind of set bad in my stomach.