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Jerry Lucas Signs with Royals of NBA

Aug. 19, 1963 - Jerry Lucas (pictured in 1959), a three-time all-America basketball player at Ohio State, signed a one-year contract today to play with the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA. The announcement was made by Warren Hensel, Cincinnati businessman, who is in the process of buying the Royals. Lucas, impeccably dressed in an olive suit for the occasion, said he made up his mind to sign because “basketball is my life, and I just had a yearning to get back.” After graduating from Ohio State, Lucas turned down a Cincinnati offer and signed with the then Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League. That league folded before he ever played a game. Lucas is anxiously awaiting the opening tip of the 1963-64 season and is “looking forward to playing with Oscar Robertson.” Asked about any bitterness that may have developed from the Buckeyes having lost twice to the University of Cincinnati in the NCAA finals, Lucas grinned and said: “There’s no bitterness. It’s something that’s written about, but it doesn’t exist.” The 23-year-old Lucas said he did not believe the year’s layoff will bother him except that it might take him a little longer than the other players to get in shape. Normally a center by trade, Jerry will no doubt be called upon to play forward in the Royals’ setup under new coach Jack McMahon. He said he was confident he could “make the switch without any trouble.” At Ohio State, he played on three Big Ten title teams, one of which won the NCAA crown. Lucas and his wife plan to move to Cincinnati from Columbus.

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