College Basketball Recruiting: Former Xavier Guard Mark Lyons to Visit 3 Schools
Mark Lyons, a 6'1" combo guard who was a third-team All-Atlantic 10 pick last season, is leaving Xavier, ESPN.com reported on Monday.
On Tuesday, Jason Smith, Lyons' former prep school coach, told the Kansas City Star that the rising senior is planning on visiting three schools before choosing where he will play his final year of college basketball: Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona.
It says a lot about Lyons' potential that both of the teams that played in the 2012 NCAA Championship game are after him.
Lyons averaged 15.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season at Xavier.
If he finishes his degree this spring, he could enroll in a graduate program at his new school and be eligible immediately.
Here is a lightning-fast look at how he might fit into each of the three programs.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
With the early departure of freshman Marquis Teague, John Calipari will be breaking in a new point guard for the fourth season in a row.
Fortunately for Kentucky, they have Ryan Harrow (pictured), a transfer from North Carolina State, already in school.
He practiced with the team this past year and, up until this last week, was thought to have the lock on the starting position.
Harrow played 23 minutes per game as a freshman, scoring 9.3 PPG and dishing out 3.3 APG (with a decent 1.8 assist-turnover ratio).
Because Lyons has already said that wherever he goes, he wants to play the point, he would have to beat out Harrow, who has a year's worth of experience (in practice) with Calipari's system.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Kansas' backcourt rotation has lots of options, but few certainties.
Bill Self returns seniors Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford, who played the wings alongside Tyshawn Taylor.
Johnson (pictured; 10.2 PPG; 3.5 APG) was recruited originally as a point guard, but has filled more of a combo-guard role for the Jayhawks.
Rising sophomore Naadir Tharpe is a true point guard who played sparingly (5.5 minutes per game) in his first year in Lawrence.
Self will most likely start Johnson and Releford in the KU backcourt.
If so, Lyons would be competing for backup minutes at Kansas.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The most likely place for Lyons to land is at Arizona.
Sean Miller, before coming to Tucson, recruited Lyons at Xavier.
Lyons has already said, "I love Coach Miller and the whole coaching staff there, so I definitely would look at Arizona."
The Wildcats are in desperate need of a guard after the departure of freshman Josiah Turner (pictured).
U of A only has combo guards Jordin Mayes, Nick Johnson and Gabe York available at the point next season.
Lyons, who was recruited as a PG out of high school, could step in immediately and fill that all-important role for one year.