It seems like the last two months of Syracuse basketball have been filled with just bad news, missed opportunities, and NCAA intervention. With recruiting looking bleak after Thomas Bryant was apparently ignored by the SU coaching staff, it’s easy to take for granted what the Orange has coming in.
Look no further than Tyler Lydon, an underappreciated power forward who plays a very complete game. At 6-foot-9, he has a diverse skill set that includes a scorching three-point jumper. In Friday night’s Jordan Brand regional game, Lydon showed off his shot, making all six of his shot attempts en route to 13 points alongside future teammate Moustapha Diagne. This included a vicious put-back dunk, as well as six rebounds.
Lydon played his senior season at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire. Last summer, he played for the USA U18 team in the FIBA World Championships. Coming from a family filled with six-footers, Lydon was always destined to play basketball – and his seven-foot wingspan only justifies that.
Lydon is a player unlike anyone that the SU coaching staff has worked with in the last couple years. Usually, Orange power forwards and centers play big down low, and are more focused on active defense than elite scoring. As a stretch four, Lydon will give the Orange some much-needed scoring from behind the arc.
After the team shot ridiculously poorly from three last season, it will have seniors Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije, as well as incoming freshman Malachi Richardson and Lydon to carry the scoring load from three. Last season, the Orange shot just 30 percent from three, close to the worst in the country. Two years ago, it was the same story, as the team shot only 33 percent from three. Three seasons ago, however, the Orange had balance scoring attack on the way to the Final Four. Lydon has a chance to impact the game like senior James Southerland did, hurting defenses with his ability to stretch the floor. That season, Southerland shot 40 percent from three and scored 13.3 points per game.
Expecting Lydon to step in immediately and produce would be a mistake; he isn’t even guaranteed minutes next season despite his unique skill set. But, after a couple games, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lydon work his way into the rotation when the Orange needs quick scoring off the bench.
Posted By: Jason Weingold