Duke men’s basketball head coach Jon Scheyer announced Thursday the promotion of Jai Lucas to associate head coach. Lucas, entering his second year on the Blue Devils’ staff in 2023-24, was an assistant coach last season.
One of the nation’s most highly regarded assistant coaches and recruiters, Lucas, 34, aids in the development of Duke’s backcourt while primarily serving as the defensive coordinator. In his first season in Durham, the Blue Devils ranked among the nation’s best defensive teams allowing 63.6 points per game, a .406 field goal percentage and .305 three-point percentage – each top 30 nationally and each top two in the ACC.
“Jai has been an amazing addition to our coaching staff,” said Scheyer. “I’m so proud of what he’s done in taking our defense to another level this past season and he’s great on the floor with player development. He’s incredible with relationships. You can ask any of our players, when they’re around him they feel better — that’s the mark of a good coach. I’m very lucky to have him on our staff and excited to name him associate head coach.”
Duke is coming off the program’s conference record 22nd ACC Tournament championship in 2022-23 and returns four starters from that squad, including ACC Rookie of the Year Kyle Filipowski and All-ACC senior guard Jeremy Roach. Duke was 27-9 overall and 14-6 in the ACC as Scheyer became the first head coach in ACC history to post an undefeated home record (16-0) in a debut season.
“I am thrilled at the opportunity to continue my coaching career at Duke,” said Lucas. “I appreciate the trust that Jon has put in me, and I look forward to helping him and our staff continue building on the incredible legacy and tradition in this program. Durham is home for me and my family and it’s an honor for me to be here.”
Lucas’ mother, Debbie, and father, Houston Rockets assistant John Lucas II, both were raised in Durham, where much of the Lucas family still resides. Lucas Middle School in Durham and other community institutions bear the name of his grandfather, John Harding Lucas, 102, who for more than 60 years, was an education administrator and leader in the Bull City.
Prior to his time at Duke, Lucas was an assistant coach at Kentucky for two seasons. For seven years prior, he served on the staff at Texas, his alma mater.
He graduated from Texas in 2011 with a degree in corporate communication, playing his final two seasons for the Longhorns after playing at Florida as a freshman. Lucas and his wife, Kori, have a son, Jaxin.