Kenny Lacy and his father were in the Mountain Pointe coaches office the other day talking with Pride football coach Norris Vaughan about recruiting and his latest offer.
They were using the white board to map out a strategy over the next few months as the Lacys prepared for his bright future.
While answering all of Vaughan's advice with ‘Yes, sir,' there was part of the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Lacy that was being pulled elsewhere. Just around the corner the Mountain Pointe boys basketball team was in the gym preparing for the now.
The Pride is in the midst of playing in the new sectional tournament with the state tournament starting next week.
In March, Lacy is taking the SAT for the first time. Prep time has to be made in order to make sure the two-way lineman is ready for the college qualifying test.
At the very least, the Mountain Pointe junior just might have a career in juggling as he tries to keep his football future and basketball responsibilities in line.
"It's all coming at me pretty fast," said Lacy, who received his seventh full-ride scholarship offer from Nebraska on Tuesday. "It can be hard, but this is what I have been working for all of this time."
Lacy has had a groundswell of attention from college recruiters after a solid season for the Pride. It started with an invitation to the Northern Arizona game despite sitting out his sophomore year because of the transfer rule when he came over from Cesar Chavez.
Then he started going to camps, and then Arizona coach Mike Stoops offered. It was a clear indicator that he had a chance to play at the next level. Soon Washington, Oregon State, Purdue, San Diego State and Arizona State made official offers.
The attention forced Lacy to make a difficult decision.
He felt he needed to further his exposure to college recruiters by attending the U.S. Army All-American Combine Jan. 5-7 in San Antonio, where he was joined by teammate Jalen Brown, who has balanced both sports. To make sure he was at his best, Lacy wanted to take a leave of absence of sorts from the basketball team.
Lacy asked hoops coach Brian Fleming if he could take some time to concentrate on football by leaving the Pride basketball program until mid-January.
It didn't go over too well.
"I couldn't have him come back at the end of the year and jump right back in after others were at practice the entire year," Fleming said. "It wouldn't work out that way."
Lacy stepped away to concentrate on his bench press, vertical leap, 40-yard dash and three-cone shuttle while the hoops team continued on in the first month of the season.
Eventually, Lacy, who bench pressed 185 pounds 21 times at the combine, realized he wanted to do his part for the basketball team and asked if he could return to the team after Christmas break instead of the end of January.
So he found a way to balance both.
"Look, he is a football player and he has to do what he has to for his future," Fleming said. "When he came to me and said he would come to every practice and do everything asked of him at the beginning of January there was no reason we couldn't bring him back. He has been true to his word."
Lacy's minutes have been slowly building (he averages 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds) as the season enters the postseason.
"I was a little rusty," Lacy said. "I haven't gotten my starting spot back yet, but I am just trying to do whatever the team needs me to do."
His father, Ken, is proud of the way his son has handled the situation by showing loyalty to his basketball teammates while knowing his future is in football.
"It weighed heavy on us and it all worked out," the elder Lacy said. "Kenny is doing good things and we have to make sure he does all the right things. When we got that letter from Nebraska it was like, ‘Is this for real?' Clearly, it was. That's why we were talking to coach Vaughan, trying to get all of the advice we can to put him in the best possible position."
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