The next great point guard in Arizona basketball illustrious tradition was thought by many to be filled by Josiah Turner. Unfortunately, this was not the case. As highly touted as Turner was coming out of high school, the thought was he would continue to keep Arizona relevant after Derrick Williams entered the draft after a stellar sophomore year that catapulted Arizona into the Elite 8 after a few years of mediocrity.
Arizona’s recruiting class for 2011 was ranked 3rd nationally and expectations were high especially with the flash that our freshmen were going to provide. Players consisted of Nick Johnson, Josiah Turner, Sidiki Johnson and Angelo Chol. Heading into the 2012-13 season Arizona will only be with Nick Johnson and Angelo Chol from that class.
Problems off the court have been documented with Sidiki and Turner was not far behind. Turner was suspended 3 times throughout the year with the final being his last.
Fast forward to the 2012 recruiting class and Arizona finishes off the final rankings at number 3 overall with 5 total commits. 3 frontcourt players of Grant Jerrett, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski, a combo guard in Gabe York and another frontcourt transfer in Matt Korchek who is going to redshirt the 2012-13 season. Miller and the staff targeted help with big men being the focal point of the class and the 3 freshman big men look to make an immediate impact.
With Turner deciding to transfer, it left Arizona in a bind by having no legitimate point guard on the squad. Returning junior guard Jordin Mayes has the most experience at the position but left the Arizona staff and Arizona fans salivating for something more. After having a strong finish to his freshman season in the NCAA tournament he never was able to stay healthy and make an impact on the 2011-12 season. Throughout the year when Turner was suspended and when Mayes was hurt Nick Johnson was called upon to lead the team and with his limited experience did what he could but it was evident this was a major piece that was missing.
Between Mayes and Johnson they averaged 15 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Hardly something opposing teams would be worried about. And heading into the season it was going to be point guard by committee with Mayes and Johnson. With every position having quality starters and quality depth the glaring need was to have a floor general on the court.
Duquense point guard transfer TJ McConnell was a huge pick up for the Wildcats but he has to sit out a year due to transfer rules.
Insert Mark Lyons.
The senior from Xavier stands at 6’1 and 190, averaged 15.5 points a game, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists while playing 32 minutes a game while shooting 43% from the field and 39% from the 3-point line. Lyons, a native from New York plays with intensity and fans could draw similarities between Lyons and Lamont “Momo” Jones. It was evident that Momo brought a swagger to the team that was sorely missed during the season and this spot is up for grabs and Lyons looks to be the man for the job.
This is where it gets interesting. Miller recruited Lyons to Xavier and received a commitment from him just before Miller made the switch to Arizona. The two have a relationship already and current Wildcat Kevin Parrom and Lyons remained friends, as both were a part of the Xavier class that year but Parrom followed Miller to Arizona. It seems all the pieces are in place for Arizona to land its floor general and if Lyons were to commit to Arizona it would be for one year only because Lyons is on pace to graduate this spring he could play one more year at another school as a graduate student. Rumblings around the program point to the direction that he is Arizona’s to lose while he also has offers from Kentucky and Kansas he would be an immediate impact player as a potential starter.
If Miller is able to work his magic don’t be surprised to see Arizona as a top 10 team to open up the 2012-13 season.