Dribbles and Drives: Lucas-Perry Readies for Return

Dribbles and Drives from Inside the House that Cazzie Built
MONDAY, DEC. 15 -- Lucas-Perry Set to Enter the Michigan Lineup

When the Michigan basketball team suits up this Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills, a number 31 jersey will hang in a locker for the first time this season as Laval Lucas-Perry will make his long-awaited debut in the Maize and Blue. For Lucas-Perry, the sight of his jersey in a locker on game day is going to feel like an early holiday gift.

"It's like another birthday for me," said Lucas-Perry. "My birthday is March 15, so maybe this is more like an early Christmas present. It's going to be fun out there."

Having to sit out a full year after his transfer from Arizona following the 2008 fall semester, Lucas-Perry has taken full advantage of that time to learn and grow, despite not seeing any game action.

"Coach Beilein tells me that every game is a learning experience, even when you are on the bench," said Lucas-Perry. "I'm trying to learn from the players, learn the system and when I get out there I'm going to work hard and do what I have to do. I watched for a year, had an off-season and I've learned the plays. I'm going to know what I'm getting into from the start."

With the Wolverines out to a quick 7-2 start this season, including two top-five wins over UCLA and Duke, the Flint, Mich. native adds yet another dimension to what is quickly becoming a potent Wolverine lineup.

"My strengths are that I can shoot the ball well, I can create for other people, I can take it to the basket, I can get my teammates open and do whatever else I can -- lock up players, play defense well," said Lucas-Perry. "My role is to do whatever Coach Beilein needs me to do. If I need to be a lockdown defender then I'll be a lockdown defender, if I need to score then I need to score, if I need to pass the ball and create opportunities for the hot man, I'm going to do that. Whatever I need to do, that's what I'm going to do."

Despite the fact that he has not played in a college game in over a year, outside expectations are already high for the 6-3 guard.

"I know that I have a lot of expectations and I'm going to try to live up to them," said Lucas-Perry. "All I have to do is go out there and work hard and I can't disappoint anyone."

As his long journey back onto the court nears its conclusion, Lucas-Perry is excited about the opportunities that lay ahead, both for him personally and for the Michigan basketball team.

"I came back here because it's Michigan and Michigan is, academically and athletically, one of the best places in the country, one of the best in the world really. It's a growing program, I see that Coach Beilein has created a bright future for this team and you can see the growth from the first nine games. We've been improving, we've been learning and we are just having fun out there."

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