- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
Oakland coach Greg Kampe didn't know how Laval Lucas-Perry would react when he called him into his office before the season to tell him he wouldn't be a starter for Oakland this season.
This was a player who had started his career at Arizona, had transferred and played for Michigan before transferring again to join the Golden Grizzlies of the Summit League. And now, heading into his last year of eligibility, after sitting out a whole season due to transfer rules, Lucas-Perry would be coming off the bench.
Lucas-Perry told him he'd do whatever is best for the team. Still, Kampe wasn't sure if he'd believe that.
"I would say I was skeptical," Kampe said. "It's human nature."
In telling Lucas-Perry this, Kampe pointed to Larry Wright, the St. John's transfer who was Oakland's super sub last season, and the success he had. He also told Lucas-Perry he is one of the five best Oakland players, but he'd be even more valuable to the team as a spark off the bench.
"Coach Kampe told me whenever you have a great team, you always have a good bench," Lucas-Perry said. "I'm just playing my role to help my team win. If it's coming off the bench, it's coming off the bench. If it's starting. I'm just here to play my best and help the team win.
"Of course you want to start and I was a little frustrated, but I accepted my role and am taking it on full force."
Part of what helps that is Lucas-Perry is still playing starter's minutes -- averaging 25.3 a game. He's also averaging 10.9 points and 3.6 rebounds as a scoring, slashing guard. This is the type of player Kampe envisioned getting when Lucas-Perry transferred from Michigan to Oakland after being dismissed from the Wolverines prior to the 2010-11 season due to violation of team standards.
It was just the latest step in what has been a twisting, turning career for Lucas-Perry, which will have spanned three schools, three coaches and two time zones.
But he said he wouldn't change any of the stops because it has made him a better player and a better person.
"I've been around pros -- Jerryd Bayless, Chase Budinger, Manny (Harris), DeShawn (Sims)," Lucas-Perry said. "It's been a great experience. I don't have any regrets, loved every minute of it.
"It's my last year. I just want to make it my best."