Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Should John Calipari Pursue Mark Lyons?

Matt OveringContributor IIIApril 24, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Mark Lyons #10 of the Xavier Musketeers reacts in the second half of their 70 to 75  loss to the Baylor Bears during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Early Monday morning, Xavier University head basketball coach Chris Mack announced that point guard Mark Lyons would not be returning for his senior season. There are reportedly three teams interested in Lyons: Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky.

Lyons is a scoring point guard, averaging 15.1 points per game last season. His one year of eligibility would be instantly redeemable—that is, he wouldn't have to sit out like Ryan Harrow did last year.

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports broke the story via Twitter:



In a follow-up email, Jason Smith clarified it's early in the process for Lyons. The interest from KU, UK and Arizona is "very preliminary."

— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) April 23, 2012


Although the interest is in its early stages, it is clear that John Calipari and his staff are looking for more depth in the backcourt. Earlier this month, Kentucky Sports Radio reported that Torian Graham, a 4-star shooting guard in the 2012 recruiting class, is back in the mix for the Wildcats.

For the Wildcats, however, the best course of action may be to avoid both players. Graham may wind up at junior college, and Lyons has this mishap on his record. 

Lyons is an intriguing candidate for the Wildcats. He epitomizes the "high risk, high reward" cliche. The word in Cincinnati is that the removal of Lyons is an "addition by subtraction." Lyons is a scorer, but his 12.2 field goal attempts per game last year were more than any player on Kentucky's championship squad.

Sure, Lyons would provide depth behind Harrow at the point. He would be an instant scoring threat with his insertion into each game. But would he buy into Calipari's team-first mantra? 

Fortunately, Kentucky is not in dire need of a point guard. Harrow fills the void left by Marquis Teague and we should see Twany Beckham or Jarrod Polson step up as a backup. The interest in Lyons is, after all, preliminary. It may be nothing more. 

There's a chance Lyons joins Big Blue Nation in Lexington next year. If he does, you can bet that he has bought in to the system Calipari has in place.

So, Big Blue Nation, should Calipari add depth at guard? Or would you rather see some more Beckham and Polson in 2012-13?