Evansville (IN) Bosse head coach Shane Burkhart knew he had a special player coming to his school after Lyle's eighth grade year. That proved to be true during an impressive freshman season, and now Burkhart says things have stepped up even another level for Lyle after a strong showing on the AAU circuit.
"Once JaQuan moved to Spiece he had to play up and I think that greatly benefitted him," said Burkhart. "He kept trying to get better, and has come back since July and has just been fantastic. He has been in the gym every day lifting weights, and just walking around school you can see a complete change maturation wise. We feel like the summer was a tremendous opportunity to grow."
Given Lyle's status on the team in terms of his production, and also his experience, Burkhart says a lot will be counted on of his sophomore this season.
"This year, the bottom line is we have a lot of two and three sport athletes," Burkhart explained. "Unfortunately and fortunately for JaQuan he is just a basketball guy. He has had to take over the leadership role as far as fall workouts and weight room activities. He has taken the lead in making sure that kids are where they have to be, being on time, and he is leading everything."
He continued, "This year we are probably going to start three sophomores, and he will be the only one with varsity experience. He has to be a really good teammate, and that is what we are talking about. Body language doesn't always tell the story with JaQuan. Sometimes JaQuan will throw his hands up in the air and people will think he is pouting, but he isn't. JaQuan wants to win and he just hasn't quite learned how to handle it when kids aren't on the same page as him. We are just working on him to be a great teammate and to be a great leader."
While Lyle is currently leading his team through workouts, colleges are trying to get in a position where they can lead in his recruitment. Things were already busy before the summer, but now the interest has soared for Lyle.
"In the middle of the summer Michigan State became real active and Ohio State did as well," said Burkhart. "Since then Memphis, Marquette, West Virginia, and Tennessee have all been in frequent contact. Georgetown has begun to make some contact, and then there are others who are saying they will come down in September to see him."
At this point Burkhart says no unofficial visits have been finalized for the fall, but some will definitely be taken.
"We are planning some visits," said Burkhart. "The tough part is we have so many athletes who play other sports, and as a coaching staff we want to support as many of those kids as we can. We are getting to a point where time is limited. We haven't talked about Midnight Madness stuff or where he will visit then. All we have talked about is that Memphis, Tennessee, Ohio State, and Marquette want him on campus. Those are all really long trips from Evansville. As a teacher and as a coach we are just trying to figure out how to accomplish all of that."
He went on to say, "We are going to sit down here soon before college football starts and try and map out a weekend for him to go to different schools. Also we have to make sure academically he stays on top of things, so we are concentrating on that more so than him taking unofficial visits."
While schools such as Memphis, Tennessee, Marquette, and Ohio State are all working to get on Lyle on campus, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, and Xavier have all had him for visits, and have done a good job of establishing a strong relationship.
"I think the fact that those four have been on him the most is phenomenal thing for those four schools," said Burkhart. "However does that put them in the lead or something, I don't know. JaQuan's grandmother who will have a huge say in everything to do with his decision making just wants him to keep a strong head and not necessarily think about anything right now and let the schools fall into place."
Burkhart went on to say, "JaQuan has to see academically where he fits in the best, and then also player wise where he fits in the best. We keep up with the recruiting part of things, and we see offers out there for point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards. JaQuan is a really intelligent kid, so he notices all of that. He is going to want to go to the best place with the best coach who is going to have the best situation for him. Those four coaches that have been on him since the beginning have done a phenomenal job with that so far. There is no real favorite, and I don't think there will be for a while."
Though Lyle lives in an area of the country where kids tend to make decisions earlier rather than later, Burkhart says a choice probably isn't coming for quite some time.
"I think he will trim his list down about a year from now, and then make a decision around the end of his junior basketball season," said Burkhart. "That is all speculation though, and that could change after he and his family have a chance to talk things over. That is just what they have talked about doing in the past."
For now Lyle will be content to set up unofficial visits and gather as much information as possible before making his decision.