Lucas transferring to Milwaukee

Lucas transferring to Milwaukee

CHAMPAIGN — Half of Te’Jon Lucas’ transfer options would have sent the former Illinois point guard across the country with the likes of San Diego, Santa Clara and Utah State among his finalists.

Lucas chose to return home instead. After two seasons at Illinois, the 6-foot-1 guard announced Tuesday afternoon he would transfer to Milwaukee.

“After sitting down with my support staff and going over all options, I have decided to return home and commit to UW-Milwaukee,” Lucas tweeted. “I would like to thank all schools who have shown interest!! GO Panthers!!”

A Milwaukee, Wis., native, Lucas was a unanimous all-state selection by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association as a senior despite his season getting cut short after he fractured his ankle in a Feb. 2016 game in Champaign.

Lucas appeared in 60 games in his two seasons at Illinois and made 34 starts — 15 as a freshman and 19 this past season. Despite seeing his scoring (5.7 ppg), assist (3.2) and rebounding (2.2 rpg) averages increase this past season, Lucas announced his intent to transfer from Illinois on March 26.

Lucas narrowed his transfer options last week, with Bradley and IUPUI also among the contenders. His ties to Milwaukee — plus the Panthers’ backcourt need — proved the right fit.

Milwaukee lost a pair of transfer guards Monday with Jeremiah Bell and Brock Still getting their release along with forward Bryce Nze. That gave the Panthers five open scholarships and just one point guard — Bryce Barnes — on scholarship.

Lucas, who must sit out the 2018-19 season, will reunite with former Illini assistant coach Paris Parham at Milwaukee. Parham recruited Lucas to Illinois and joined Pat Baldwin’s coaching staff before the 2017-18 season.

Lucas is the second former Illini guard to pick a transfer destination, with 2017 Illinois Mr. Basketball winner Mark Smith picking Missouri. Champaign native and former Illinois forward Michael Finke is down to a final five of transfer destinations in Grand Canyon, Nevada, Penn State, Stanford and Vanderbilt.