Coming off an exceptional freshman campaign, the spotlight is on Tyler Lydon to establish himself as one of the premier players in the ACC. But according to The Big Lead, a USA Today sports blog, Lydon is trying to cement himself as one of the NCAA’s elite. The blog released its top 50 players for 2016-17 and sitting at number nine on its list is the Orange’s 6’8 center. He comes in ahead of the likes of Iowa State’s Monte Morris, Maryland’s Melo Trimble and North Carolina’s Justin Jackson. Last season, Lydon was the first (and sometimes only) man off Jim Boeheim’s bench. However, he won’t start games on the pine this season. The Elizaville native is set to jump right into the starting lineup, but don’t expect a drastic spike in minutes. Last season, despite being the Orange’s sixth man, Lydon averaged 30.3 minutes per game. With such a promising forecast for the Syracuse big man, what are realistic expectations for his 2016-17 campaign?
Lydon’s top 10 ranking may have come as a shock to some people. How could someone just one year removed from not starting on a team in the bottom half of the ACC be regarded as one of the best players in the nation? Syracuse’s strong tournament run wouldn’t have been what it was without a huge late game block against Gonzaga and a shoeless three pointer against Virginia. The man in the center of all of that is the center himself. Lydon launched himself onto the national landscape thanks to his tournament performance, averaging 10.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4 blocks in just over 30 minutes per game. With a more defined role as a starter, as well as a year of college basketball under his belt, it’s not unrealistic for Lydon to lead the Orange in scoring and rebounding. The sophomore-to-be was never the focal point of the offense last season, but if he can carry the load as Syracuse’s biggest threat, Lydon’s number ranking as one of the elite won’t be second guessed.