“I like Gilchrist’s game a lot. He can bring so many things to the table. One night if his jump shot is not on, he is 6-7 and he can post up a little guard or big man come out he can go around them. He just has an all-around game.”
He also knows Kentucky freshman point guard Brandon Knight because he played AAU basketball with him two years ago.
“It was different at first. He didn’t really know me too well, but as we played together he gained trust in me and saw that I could help him out and he is a good player to play with. He is very humble, and I heard he is very, very intelligent and made like a 34 on the ACT,” said Lacey, who took the ACT on Saturday.
He has also played AAU basketball with Duke commit Austin Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. He spent time with them last summer.
“Doc talked to me and told me some little things that I needed to work on. He said I had a nice game and if I continued to work hard, I would probably have a shot (at playing in the NBA), but he said I needed to keep working and stay humble,” Lacey said.
The 6-4, 210-pound Lacey did pay attention to the success that Alabama products Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins had at Kentucky last year. His Huntsville Butler High School won the 2009 state title after Bledsoe’s team beat Cousins’ team in the semifinals.
“Kentucky was recruiting me before Calipari was there. They (Bledsoe and Cousins) are real good friends, but not best friends because we all are from different cities. When we see each other, we speak,” Lacey said. “By them going there and having a big impact, it makes me pay attention.
“I talk to DeMarcus on Facebook and he says this is a good school to be at. They told coach Cal and coach O (Orlando Antigua) about me, and that’s how they kind of got recruiting me. They recruited me at Memphis, but not like they really needed me. Now they kind of want me to come.”
Lacey played on state championship teams in 2008 and 2009. Butler might have won another won last year if he had not hurt his knee in late February. Still, he was named Alabama’s Mr. Basketball.
“They just said they saw me enough during season and I had done enough to open their eyes that I got Mr. Basketball,” Lacey said. “I didn’t get to play again until early April. I actually was supposed to sit out two or three months, but my trainer had intense rehab with me and got my knee back.”
His knee is fine as shown by his decision to play football for the first time this season, even though Butler did not win a game last year and has only one win this year.
“Football was my favorite sport. No one in my family has ever played football. My family is dominated by basketball. My dad took more time out with me through football season to work with me more on basketball, so I missed football season,” Lacey said. “I was working to get body stronger.
“After I saw Brandon Knight one summer and he was cut up like a football player, I was like, ‘You don’t have to be that big to play basketball,’ and he said everybody in college was that size and I got serious about my body.
“I play receiver and cornerback. I love it. Even though we are not the best team, we give it our all. We don’t have much depth, and that is where teams take off on us. But football helps my basketball. I feel stronger in my legs and I am able to get off the ground quicker. Walking in that grass and jumping in that grass is different than on the court, and I get up easier now.”