Kansas coach Bill Self gave the final word on center Landen Lucas following his senior speech Monday night.
“If you don’t have a trained eye and know what you’re looking for,” Self said, “some of the things that Landen does goes unnoticed.”
Just minutes earlier, Lucas had one of his signature stretches, making play after play for KU late.
And it would have been hard to see if you weren’t paying close attention.
While KU was completing another home comeback — this one a 73-63 victory over Oklahoma on Senior Night — Lucas had an impactful 73 seconds … in which he posted exactly zero points and zero rebounds.
6:04 left, Devonté Graham three-pointer
It’s subtle, but watch what Lucas does after he gets double-teamed in the post.
Oklahoma’s Kristian Doolittle has to try to guard both Lagerald Vick and Graham on the perimeter, and Lucas fakes a pass to Vick on the wing. Doolittle bites, which opens up Graham for a throw to the corner.
The guard gets credit for making the shot. But Lucas made the play to get him open.
5:45 left, Kameron McGusty miss
Lucas not only hedges a ball screen well to discourage a drive by McGusty, but he also steps up again to challenge the shot when the Oklahoma guard gets a step on Frank Mason. The result is a missed shot, and the rebound bounces off Lucas’ hands to teammate Josh Jackson.
5:36 left, Graham three-pointer
Lucas is one of the furthest players back when KU secures the rebound, yet he outruns Vick — a 6-foot-5 guard — to the other end.
The hustle might not seem important … until you see what it does to Oklahoma’s defense. Lucas draws three defenders in the paint, and that confusion allows Graham to leak out to the corner.
The official play-by-play of the box score has an error, crediting Lucas with the assist instead of Jackson.
And perhaps that’s fitting.
5:18 left, Khadeem Lattin miss
More strong help defense from Lucas, who bails out Jackson when he allows Doolittle to get by him on the dribble. Lucas steps over to prevent a layup, forcing Doolittle’s pass to Lattin, who is a 34-percent midrange shooter according to Hoop-Math.com.
The shot misses, and once Jackson gets the rebound, KU is off and running.
5:09 left, Frank Mason layup
Lucas gets quickly to the other end again, and he’s needed for this Mason drive.
Behind Lucas is Lattin, who ranks in the top 30 nationally in block rate. Mason has struggled to finish close shots recently — his 55 percent accuracy at the rim is slightly below NCAA average.
So Lucas throws a basketball block. He seals off Lattin with his backside and forearm, keeping him away from his teammate. It’s just enough, since Lattin can’t extend far enough with his left arm to challenge the shot.
For Lucas, a five-year KU career was epitomized in those five second-half possessions.
Eight points for KU. None for Lucas.
And a 73-second masterpiece for the senior that won’t show up on SportsCenter, but helped the Jayhawks win all the same.