July 11, 2016

Schmidt getting looks

Kevin McCarthy

Santa Cruz County, let alone a small private school in Watsonville, isn't known for producing college basketball bigs. Call him an outlier but 6-foot-9, 240 Lucas Schmidt of Monte Vista Christian School, a 2018 prospect, is already on the follow list of a number of West Coast hoops programs.

photo of Lucas Schmidt

Schools such as UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, Eastern Washington and Oregon State are watching Schmidt, intrigued by his power possibilities.

"I've been working on my vertical and finishing through contact. Working with the jump rope has helped me to get up and dunk." Additionally, this year I'm pushing people around more. As a freshman, I was much more timid because I was young and the other players were so much better." His leadership skills are unique. "I'm more vocal in games but not so much in practice."

Playing this summer with the West Valley Basketball Club (WVBC), Schmidt has added some much needed height to the team. Here's West Valley co-founder Bob Bramlett: "Lucas has only his natural maturity to take hold and he will truly develop. He has what you can't teach. Soft hands, the ability to own space and a natural touch around the hoop."

The lefty is a dual sport participant, being a pitcher in baseball. Imagine someone that size being 60 feet, six inches or closer to the batting box. According to Schmidt, "my best pitch is my curveball." That, plus "my hitting has improved a lot. I'm driving the ball a lot better."

He does have a favorite though at the next level. "I want to play college basketball" but any diamond offer will be appreciated and considered.

Schmidt sees his current strengths as "finishing down low, rebounding and seeing the court really well" although he too graciously attributes that simply to his height.

Besides his high school basketball playing mom and his dad who played football at North Dakota State, Schmidt named "Joe Lampkin, one of my coaches for the last six years and a family friend" as a strong basketball influence.

He cited two best moments to date, one in each sport. "In the eight grade at a national tournament, we won the championship after three or four years of trying." On the diamond, "in seventh grade in Omaha, I was pitching in a game and I got tired of being down by one so after a teammate got beaned, I hit a home run."

Come the July tournaments, expect the gyms West Valley is playing in to have quite the assortment of college head coaches and assistants surrounding the court.