Tyler Lydon only needed two games to endear himself to Syracuse fans.
In Syracuse’s scarier-than-it-should-have-been 79-66 win over St. Bonaventure, Lydon put up 13 points in 31 minutes. He was a perfect 5-5 from the free-throw line, and most memorably, knocked down two huge shots from 3-point land. Syracuse fell in love.
This comes as no surprise to people who know Syracuse basketball. Over the summer, members of the Syracuse Alumni Team raved about Lydon’s abilities, and ensured fans that the freshman would immediately win over the community. Lydon, for his part, makes it easy.
He has already shown that he’ll throw his body around for the ball. His arms and legs are already covered in gym burns, little cuts and nicks, and he chuckles about it when asked.
“I’m gonna do whatever it takes to get the ball, rebound the ball, do whatever,” Lydon said. “I’m just going to try to bring as much energy as possible for this team.”
The supply of energy seems endless. He didn’t tire late against the Bonnies, with both of his 3s midway through the second half.
“Honestly, in the heat of the moment I got so much adrenaline going that I don’t know what’s really going on with my body,” Lydon said. “I felt great at the time though.”
This energy is key for player with a slight frame playing center in the zone. Though Lydon will eventually need to add bulk on to have more of an impact around the net, his quickness is his biggest asset right now. Though he only had one steal and one block on Tuesday, he displayed great instincts and his classic frame is a perfect fit in the 2-3 zone.
That being said, Lydon knows there’s plenty of room to grow.
“It’s definitely good to learn right now what we gotta improve on as a team and as a unit,” Lydon said. “So to get these two wins out of the way and stuff, it felt great and we’re trying to keep moving forward.”
One of Lydon’s biggest improvement in just his second game was 3-point shooting. After missing all three of his 3-point attempts in SU’s win in its season opener against Lehigh, Lydon was a perfect 2-2 against St. Bonaventure.
“I felt like I had a lot of confidence at the time,” Lydon said. “Me and Coach Autry have been getting in the gym a lot lately, just getting up shots. Do whatever it takes [to get] to the next level. So it felt good to be out there and knock down a couple.”
Though his game has drawn plenty of praise, Lydon has deferred credit to coaches and teammates. When asked about starting guards Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney, he called them ‘great leaders.’
“They’ve been through pretty much every situation imaginable, so just to learn every little thing about them—they teach us a lot, in practice, on the court,” Lydon said. “They’re always talking to me, so it’s been a great experience with those guys so far.”
And he seems to be learning a lot. Just watching his progression through the exhibition and regular season games, Lydon has begun to come alive.
“In the first couple games, in the exhibitions…I was nervous, I’m not gonna lie,” Lydon said. “[I haven’t spent] a lot of time being out in that four, but as time goes on and I get used to playing out there, being with the guys and stuff, I think my confidence will just grow.”