Last year it was Malachi Richardson. Three years ago it was Tyler Ennis. Four years ago Michael Carter-Williams. And six years ago it was Wes Johnson.
So. This year. Tyler Lydon. But what, exactly, does Lydon have in common with Richardson, Ennis, MCW and Johnson? And what am I even talking about?
First, the players: out of those five guys, two were freshmen, two sophomores and one transfer. I’m referring to their breakout years. They all had those seasons for Syracuse, and propelled said seasons right into the NBA draft. And that’s exactly what Lydon will do this year.
So, here’s some background. All are/were highly ranked players. But none were at the absolute top of their class. And when you play for Syracuse, a team that often has a a lot of great players, you can fly even more under the radar. For Richardson, it took him until the NCAA tournament to truly explode. MCW was behind a logjam of guards his freshman year. Johnson was an unknown as a transfer, and Ennis came in with a large freshman class that made it harder to stand out.
But once these players were able to really showcase their abilities, they thrived. For Lydon, this is his year. He showed flashes of greatness in the tourney last year, and with this year’s team losing Richardson, Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney, he can really shine.
With so many new faces on the team this year, Lydon is a steady pillar. We’ve seen the extent of another Tyler, the reliable Tyler Roberson. But I’m ready to see Lydon at his peak ability.
He is a known on a team of unknowns. And Cuse will benefit as long as he lives up to expectations. People tend to sleep on Cuse’s players until they give them reason not to sleep. That’s fine. The Orange would rather come out of nowhere and make the Final Four. They thrive the best in that situation.
And Tyler Lydon is the X factor that will be the key to any run this team makes this season.