Nicholas Lucenti Is at the Tail End Of A Fun Ride Playing For The Oregon Ducks

////

Four years, 48 minutes, 22 games played and five points.

This is the extent of Oregon G Nicolas Lucenti’s statistical accomplishments heading into his final home game against Arizona on Saturday.

But for Lucenti, a cool four year experience trumps any numerical value.

Playing for a team that’s won at least 20 games in all four years of his career, most college students would be envious of some of Lucenti’s experiences.

For instance, Lucenti got to play in the final season of the historic Mac Court and in the relatively new Matthew Knight Arena.

 

Photo by GoDucks.com
Oregon G Nicholas Lucenti GoDucks.com Photo by Eric Evans

“It’s crazy to think that I’m one of the only one’s(on the team) to have played at Mac Court. I love that place. It had crazy energy,” Lucenti said. 

Still, he may have been a little spooked by the arena.

“Managers used to be tell me they would be there late at night and hear things,” he said. 

He also played in the NCAA tournament last year, receiving one minute of playing time in the round of 32 game against Saint Louis.  

His fondest memory however was being apart of the Ducks unlikely run to a Pac-12 tournament title last year.

“The Pac-12 tournament last year was unbelievable, something I will never forget,” he said.

Not to mention, he’s had the opportunity to spend the last four years practicing and traveling around the Pac-12 with Oregon head coach Dana Altman and UO all-time wins leader Johnathan Loyd. 

 

Johnathan Loyd and Nicholas Lucenti celebrate. Photo by zimbio.com
PG Johnathan Loyd and G Nicholas Lucenti celebrate. Photo by zimbio.com

 “I’m really excited for the huge game against Arizona. You get all of the emotions playing here on senior night and I get to do it with one of my best friends, John Loyd,” he said. 

Altman isn’t 100 percent sure if Lucenti has enjoyed his time at UO, but he’s almost certain.

“He loves the game. He loves his teammates. I think he’s really enjoyed it. I’ve got a soft spot for walk-ons being a former walk-on,” Altman said.

Plus, he’s matched up with bonafide elite college basketball players for four seasons. Though guarding one player in particular wasn’t what he would call a cake-walk.

“EJ(Singler) was dirty. You never want to guard EJ. He was always slapping you, holding you,” Lucenti said with a grin on his face. 

He points out that usually he would be used as an offensive test-dummy during practice.

“Most of the time we are doing offensive stuff. They all don’t want to guard me,” Lucenti said jokingly.

Because of the increased depth of the Ducks roster, Lucenti’s role in practices has lessened over the years.

“As our numbers got bigger, we didn’t depend on him from day to day,” Altman said.

However, Lucenti points out that he’s always known his role on the team.

“I’ve had multiple talks with coach and know my role. I’ve just always been close with the team and just enjoyed the process,” he said.

“The guys really respect him for everything he does for the team,” Altman said

“His unselfishness is something every team needs,” he added.

But being a student athlete for a Division 1 program is a challenge , no matter if you’re a future NBA player or a walk-on, just happy to be on the team.

Former Ducks F Austin Kuemper and G Nicholas Lucenti. GoDucks.com Photo by Eric Evans
Former Ducks F Austin Kuemper and G Nicholas Lucenti. GoDucks.com Photo by Eric Evans

“It definitely has its challenges. Especially right now with finals coming up. Traveling and juggling studies was the hardest part, but you find a way. The Jaqua Center is unbelievable, with tutors and people helping us,” he said.

On Saturday, Lucenti will be one of seven Oregon players who will either play or hold down the fort on the bench for the last time at home.   

Five of the seven receive consistent playing time for the Ducks, including Loyd, Waverly Austin and three senior transfers who signed up for just one year at Oregon.

“The three guys that have joined us just for this year, Jason(Calliste), Rich(ard Amardi) and Mike(Moser) have really stepped up and have done a great job for us.” Altman said. 

Finally, Brian Crow, who didn’t score a point this season, will graduate this year. Crow played hoops for two years at Samona State and then transferred to UO this season.

“Brian Crow did a good job on the scout team. He suffered a high ankle sprain earlier this year that really hurt him, but he’s helped us,” Altman said.

With an NCAA tournament birth still in question, coupled with it being their final home game, UO G Joseph Young says Oregon seniors emotions will be high on Saturday.

“It’s there last game in this arena. I’m pretty sure the seniors are gonna have emotions but that is going to be their motivation,” UO G Joseph Young said.

Lucenti has high hopes for the team on Saturday.

“I feel really good coming into it. We played them down to the wire at there place and that is one of the toughest environments to play in. Now we get them coming here at home and they just played a tough game at OSU so I feel good,” he said.

When asked if he will lobby for Altman to start him against the Wildcats, Lucenti said, “I’m not going to put him in that position, especially against Arizona.”

Though he will always remember the incredible atmosphere at Mac Court, Lucenti said he has visited the arena just once since his freshman year.

“They were cleaning it out one day and I was walking by and kind of took it in for a second,” Lucenti said. 

After he cleans out his locker at Matthew Knight Arena, Lucenti will have much to reflect on regarding his time as a Duck.

I’m sure his thoughts will elicit a smile.

I am a journalism major and political science minor at University of Oregon. I graduated from Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon in 2010. I am interested in many aspects of journalism such as feature writing, hard news and multimedia. I like to write stories on music, politics, sports and fascinating stories which expand my mind.

Default thumbnail
Previous Story

Mascot bill signed into law; schools can keep Native American names

Next Story

March 7 - Eugene, Springfield and Lane County Headlines

Latest from Firehose

Pique

When I returned to the Bounty for my second year aboard I

0 $0.00