John Lucas II is indelibly linked with Houston and the Rockets. Lucas grew up in Durham, N.C., went to the University of Maryland and played on great Lefty Driesell teams, then was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1976 NBA Draft. Lucas played 14 NBA seasons, including three stints with the Rockets, despite an addiction problem with drugs and alcohol.

Lucas underwent rehab and started his own recovery program, which still helps addicts today. Lucas also has been an assistant coach with the Spurs (1992-94), 76ers (1994-96) and Cavaliers (2001-03); general manager of the 76ers; and assistant coach with the Nuggets, Clippers and now the Rockets.

Lucas' son, John III, was the star point guard on OSU's 2004 Final Four team. Lucas II chatted with The Oklahoman at the Toyota Center.

Q: Do you feel a special connection with the Rockets?

A: I've always bled Rocket red. It's been a great opportunity to come back. Mike (D'Antoni) has really given me a lot of liberty to do what I need to do in player development, working with guys on their shooting and doing things. It's been really good.

What do you most enjoy about the job?

Giving them the confidence they can believe they can achieve and change our culture, help our culture be better. This is the best years of their life. It's one phase of their life. So this isn't a punishment. This is a reward.