If you haven’t been paying close attention to Syracuse basketball news this may be the third or fourth time you’ve been told Tyler Lydon is leaving Syracuse. But even after Lydon tweeted out his goodbye to the Orange two weeks ago, everyone knew there was still a chance for SU to get its star back for another year. The sophomore hadn’t signed an agent yet, so he still could decide to stay in school before June 12. Orange fans may have even gotten optimistic after Lydon dropped out of the first round in Chad Ford’s latest mock draft Wednesday. Those hopes were quickly crushed when Hall of Frames Collectibles announced Lydon would sign autographs at its store in Utica Thursday. Tickets for the signing are $20, which officially makes Lydon ineligible to play next season under NCAA rules.
Now that Lydon’s college career is officially over, let’s take a closer look at his numbers and where he was the biggest help for the Orange.
Tyler Lydon showed flashes of greatness in just about every area at some point during his time at SU, but he was most consistent with his defense. He led the team with 1.4 blocks per game this season and 1.8 in 2015. In that year, he finished in the top 10 of the ACC in defensive rating, defensive wins share and blocks per game. He was No. 2 in defensive rating on SU in both of his seasons behind Dajuan Coleman and Taurean Thompson, respectively, but the numbers don’t do him justice. Lydon was the middle of the 2-3 zone in two years Syracuse didn’t have the size it had become used to. Lydon never should have played in the center in Jim Boeheim’s system, but never complained (to the media, at least). He wasn’t able to work around the perimeter as much as he would have liked, but was able to put on a show on the defensive end.
It’d be hard to pin down one thing that held Syracuse basketball back in the last two seasons, but rebounding has been one of the biggest problems. Lydon and Tyler Roberson have been the only bright spots for the Orange on the boards. Lydon averaged 6.3 rebounds per game his freshman season before taking overtaking Roberson with 8.3 rebounds per game this year, good for No. 5 in the ACC. His rebounding took a big jump this year when Syracuse needed it most, but Lydon still took much of the heat for SU’s struggles on the glass.
Sometimes, Tyler Lydon made you hate him. There were games where he didn’t shoot as much as he should have and others where he took too many shots. It wasn’t always fun watching him and Syracuse play these two years, but without Lydon it would have been much worse. Once at the bottom of the list of SU’s 2015 recruiting class, he became the most important player on the team. For two years, Lydon was the best on Syracuse’s roster in a pair of areas (defense and rebounding) where the team as a whole consistently struggled, and that should be remembered in any discussion of his SU legacy.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson