LAS VEGAS — Former Syracuse star Tyler Lydon is playing in the 2017 Las Vegas Pro Summer League after he was taken with the 24th pick by the Denver Nuggets. We caught up with Lydon to talk about adjusting to the pace of the NBA, Mike Hopkins leaving for Washington, and his favorite memory Syracuse.
Matt Dagostino: Tyler, tell us about the last couple of weeks you had with the NBA Draft.
Tyler Lydon: The draft was obviously incredible. It’s something you dream of as a kid just to hear your name be called. But I chose a different route. I chose to stay at home and be with my family and friends watching from there. Just really enjoyed it with them, trying to give back to them too and enjoy that process. It was a lot of fun. Obviously blessed to be drafted. It’s a great fit and I just have to keep working.
MD: How has it been for you this week in the Vegas summer league?
TL: I’m still trying to adjust a little bit. It’s faster than college, so it’s going take a little while, obviously. You can’t just expect to go in and do great things right away. You hope to, but like I said, I just have to adjust and keep working. As far as what Denver does, it fits perfectly with who I am as a player and as a person. All that stuff.
MD: What’s the biggest difference between college and the pros?
TL: Definitely the pace and the physicality of the game. More just understanding the game at a different level. Everyone’s a lot faster, smarter, more athletic, all that stuff. So just playing like that too.
MD: What is the thing that you need to work on most this summer?
TL: The biggest thing for me is to get in the weight room and add weight. Just feeling comfortable playing at this level and working on my game.
MD: Did the Denver coaching staff talk to you about anything in particular to work on this summer?
TL: Not really. They talked about the shooting. They talked about what they expect from me coming in. At the end of the day, they just want to develop me in all different areas so that’s what I have to do.
MD: You were there when all the craziness happened at Syracuse with Mike Hopkins leaving and Jim Boeheim staying. What did you think as it happened?
TL: It was a total shock. I had no idea. Me and Hop are really close but I’m super happy for him, doing what he loves, being a head coach. I couldn’t be more happy for him and how he’s done.
MD: I was talking with Rakeem Christmas last week and he was saying that he knew Coach Boeheim was never going to leave. What do you think?
TL: I don’t think coach will ever leave. At the end of the day, he’s done everything. He’s a great coach. He’s like a king out there. I don’t think he’ll ever leave.
MD: Does knowing that Coach Boeheim will be there for the foreseeable future help with recruiting?
TL: I’m sure it does. At the end of the day, if I was a recruit, and Syracuse was recruiting me, Coach Boeheim is still there. They have a great coaching staff. They always have, they always will. They have great teammates, great players. If I was a recruit I would look at that and see the resume, and see what all of those guys have done, I’d still want to go play there. That’s just me. They’ll always find a way to get it done. That’s what we do at Syracuse. I have faith in those guys and everything will be alright.
MD: What was your highlight of your college career?
TL: Definitely the Final Four run. That was something to be proud of looking back. Honestly, I’m pretty proud as a person to played there. They really developed me on and off the court. They taught me so many things. It’s incredible. So much to describe.
MD: Have you been keeping up with Boeheim’s Army and the TBT?
TL: A little bit. It’s tough out here with everything that’s going on, but definitely trying to keep up with it and support those guys.