Mar 23, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Xavier Musketeers guard Mark Lyons (10) calls a play against the Baylor Bears in the semifinals of the south region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
Mark Lyons was among the best point guards in the country last season. Now looking to transfer, the Arizona Wildcats would be an ideal fit.
News broke Sunday morning that starting Xavier guard Mark Lyons is transferring from the university to pursue other opportunities. There were reports of a strained relationship between Lyons and the XU coaching staff following the infamous brawl with Cincinnati last season.
Players who transfer to a different program typically have to sit out a year before playing again, but there are exceptions.
Lyons would qualify for an exception to the rule.
He redshirted his freshman year at Xavier -- which was Sean Miller's final season with the school -- and is set to graduate this spring, assuming no unforeseen complications arise. Since he would be considered a graduate transfer student, he would be eligible to play immediately.
Lyons was recruited heavily by multiple members of the current Arizona coaching staff, with coach Miller being his primary recruiter. The 6'1" guard decided to remain with the Musketeers despite Miller's departure in the spring of 2009, and has gone on to thrive on the court, averaging nearly 15 points, three assists and three rebounds the last two years as a starter.
He has aspirations of making the NBA one day, although his draft stock is not high enough to be selected at the 2012 Draft in June.
This is where coach Miller and the Arizona Wildcats come in.
Following the departure of point guard Josiah Turner earlier this month, the UA is left without a true point guard for next season. Jordin Mayes and Nick Johnson figured to see a bulk of the playing time at point, but both are better suited as combo-guards and not as the primary ball handlers. T.J. McConnell figures to be the starter in Tucson eventually, but he must sit out a year after transferring from Duquesne.
Arizona needs a point guard for one season.
Mark Lyons is looking for a school to play point guard for one season. He originally committed to Sean Miller out of high school and features an up-tempo style of play that should thrive in the Wildcats' system.
This is a perfect fit for all parties involved.
UA gets a stellar senior point guard to run the show on a team many have already projected to make a deep run at the NCAA Tournament. Lyons immediately becomes the floor general on a team loaded with talent, which can only help his draft stock next summer. And with his familiarity and bond with coach Miller, who was a great point guard back in his day, you can bet Lyons' transition to Tucson would be an easy one.
Taking a quick look at the roster as it stands now, the projected starting lineup for the 2012 season would likely be Lyons, Nick Johnson or Kevin Parrom at the off-guard spot, Solomon Hill on the wing, and then a combo of Brandon Ashley, Angelo Chol, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski in the paint.
Off the bench would come Jordin Mayes, Gabe York, Johnson or Parrom, and then the other two underclassmen post players, assuming no other players decide to leave the program.
This is not a done deal as of yet, but that's an awfully scary team on paper. That's a team built to win a national championship. Now it's just a matter of securing Lyons' commitment to become an Arizona Wildcat.
For more on the Wildcats, check out Arizona Desert Swarm.