Dec. 1, 2009
This is Lucas Hargrove's fourth and final season in the Auburn basketball program and he is relishing his role as a leader with several newcomers on the team this year.
"This year we have a lot of freshmen, so I not only have to always know what I'm doing, I have to also know what they are doing," said Hargrove. "The leadership role is a very, very big role to have, and I'm excited to see what I can do and how I can help."
Auburn started out just 2-5 in conference play last season, but won eight out of its last nine SEC games before making it to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament and within an eyelash of the NIT Final Four. Hargrove thinks this year's team can experience the same kind of turnaround.
"Last year we had a great run. In the beginning of the season last year, we had a rough start," said Hargrove. "This season we are having a rough start, but I feel like we can pull it together just like we did last year."
Hargrove credits the team being a close knit group as the key to last year's success and feels as though this year's team has the same kind of chemistry.
"Last year we had great team chemistry, and I believe that was the biggest contributor to our success, and this year our chemistry is coming along pretty well," said Hargrove. "I think we are going to be able to pull it together and have a pretty good season."
Although basketball is extremely important to Hargrove, it is not the most important thing in his life. On July 9, 2009, Lucas and his longtime girlfriend, Latoya, had a baby girl, Leila Jayde Hargrove.
"When I had my daughter, by all means, she is the most precious thing in my life and there's nothing that comes before her, "said Hargrove.
Hargrove says his time as an Auburn basketball player has taught him valuable lessons that have been important since he became a father.
"I think I've learned how to deal with adversity very, very well, "said Hargrove. "When stuff doesn't go your way, which it is not going to go your way a lot of the time, you have to keep your head up and don't pout about stuff. I've learned good stuff will come if you keep your head in the right direction."
Hargrove said the hardest part of being a father while playing college basketball and being a student is the time away from his daughter.
"The hardest part is with the traveling and the time, "said Hargrove. "You don't have time to be with your baby as much as you want. At the same time, you have other responsibilities, so you just try your best to keep all of it in shape."
Hargrove plans to graduate in May with a public administration degree. After college, he looks forward to pursuing a professional basketball career and being a family man.