The journey & career of Francis Lacis

Basketball senior Francis Lacis’ journey to Oral Roberts University.

Blake Turner, Staff Writer

Lao Tzu once said “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

For Francis Lacis, a senior on the Golden Eagles basketball team, the journey began in Riga, Latvia, 5,000 miles from Tulsa.

Like most recruits, Lacis had to deal with contacting coaches and deciding where to go to college.

“I did not know much about college basketball in the (United) States,” he said. “Every school reached out to me, with some of them being bigger names.”

ORU came on his radar in April of his senior year in high school.

“I reached out to the coaches and liked the culture they were building here,” Lacis said.

As a freshman, he needed time to adjust to college life.

“The big adjustment was the culture shock that I had with people being more open,” Lacis said. “Basketball-wise, there was a big adjustment. The practices were longer and harder.”

With experience playing in Latvia, Lacis noticed a significant difference between playing college basketball and European ball.

“It is more physical and a lot more one-on-one,” he said. “And that was the biggest struggle I struggled with my first years here was getting in the weight room and seeing the opposition (I) had to go against and realizing the importance of the weight room and getting bigger to compete with other guys coming at you.”

Lacis had 75 career starts for ORU and averaged 7 points and 6.3 rebounds his senior year. Amid all his experiences in college, the most memorable will be ORU’s run to the Sweet 16 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Lacis said.

“I do not think that is a hard question,” he said. “The best part was seeing how many fans (we) had because it was a COVID year and the home games were empty, and then suddenly you see people going to Indianapolis to see us play, and I thought it was cool.”

Now, with his college career ending, Lacis wants to be remembered for being there for people.

“I hope that I was helpful,” he said, “and that they could count on me.”