Genoa-Kingston point guard Tommy Lucca scored only two points in the first half of Tuesday’s game against Hinckley-Big Rock, but the sophomore’s influence is felt whether he’s leading the team in scoring, which he did throughout the first four games of the season, or dishing out passes.
Lucca dished out several passes in transition for open layups as the Cogs moved to 4-1, and he’s shown throughout the early-goings that he’s the unquestioned general for the Cogs this season.
“He’s always been a good passer for us,” Genoa-Kingston coach Corey Jenkins said. “I think he needs to be that vocal leader for this team, and to this point he’s done that at practice. They’ll follow him if he does that.”
After making the Daily Chronicle All-Area Honorable Mention team last season, Lucca will have to take on a bigger role this season after the graduation of first-team honoree Adam Price and second-teamer Mason Lucca, his older brother.
And he’s already shown he’s ready when healthy. After suffering a sprained knee before the season, Lucca led the team with 26 points and five steals in the Cogs’ 50-35, season-opening win against Morrison, before leading G-K in scoring throughout the tournament in Oregon.
“He just keeps developing and getting better every year,” senior Sal Lopez said of Lucca, who plays AAU basketball for Illinois Wolves, one of the top club teams in the state. “You can tell, definitely, that he changed from last year to this year in his game.”
But G-K isn’t solely dependent on its star.
The Cogs returns plenty of size, with 6-foot-3 forward Griffin McNeal manning the inside along with sophomore Tommy Hansen, Lopez, and several other options. Jenkins will also rely on a deep bench – twice in Tuesday’s contest he subbed all five of his starters.
On Tuesday, the Cogs received a scare when Lucca went down early in the second half, holding his right knee before leaving the game for good. Even without Lucca, the Cogs were steady, when five other players scored at least six points.
Jenkins doesn’t expect Lucca to be out for long, but G-K showed that when he returns, he has a strong supporting cast to play with.
“We know how to step up and play. [Lucca is] a big player, but we’ve got guys who can step up and handle the ball, spread the ball around and led the offense,” McNeal said. “All 15 players on this team can play. We can put anyone out there and its the same expectations. That differs a little bit. We were a little bit more top-heavy [last season], but this year we have a lot of depth.”