High School Team: Evansville (Ind.) Benjamin Bosse
Ranking: #12 (2014)
Recruiting: Committed to Louisville
It wasn't an easy process for JaQuan Lyle. The five-star point guard had many great college offers and built solid relationships with all the head coaches involved. However at the end of the day Lyle decided on Louisville, and here is a detailed breakdown of his game.
OffenseThis is the area of the floor where Lyle really stands out. He is one of the best passers in the country and has good size for the point guard spot. Despite not being an ultra quick player, Lyle does have pretty good speed with the ball and he can by guys by changing speeds, using his strength, or just by intelligence.
The area of Lyle's game that has really grown in the past year is shooting. Always someone who preferred to pass or get to the rim, Lyle is now turning into a very solid to good outside shooter. He is a little bit better right now shooting off the bounce as opposed to off the catch, but as a three point shooter he is now someone you really have to respect, and should be a good shooter by the time he gets to college.
Still what Lyle does best is create. Very few prospects in the country have better floor vision than Lyle does. He sees things before they happen, and has a great sense for where to look and do it at the right time. Also when Lyle gets into the lane he doesn't get blinders. He sees how the defense collapses on him and either kicks it out to shooters, drops it off for dunks, or even finishes on his own.
Also Lyle is now working hard on his post-up game. Most big point guards don't pay attention to posting up, but he does. Lyle has shown on several occasions his willingness to take smaller guards on the block and he scores that way and also puts himself in a position to grab rebounds.
Now where Lyle needs work on the offensive end is if he doesn't have the ball in his hands. Too often he can be a ball watcher and simply stand around the perimeter waiting for something to happen instead of moving and making himself more of a threat.
DefenseThis is the area of the court where Lyle isn't quite as dominant. Lyle has the size and versatility to be a good defender who can guard multiple spots, but he also has some work to do as well.
Lyle isn't the quickest player laterally, and at 6-foot-4 he is bigger and more physical than most guards so at times he can struggle with really quick point guards, but he makes up for it with long arms and strength which tends to stop straight line drives.
While he isn't as great against quick point guards, he does have the ability to defend shooting guards and small forwards very well. His size is an asset in that way, and given that he has a good understanding of the game, Lyle is able to often stay in front of players and can match up on the glass with them as well.
The biggest thing for Lyle on defense is simply focus and conditioning. He can take plays off either because he isn't locked in or he is tired, but as that improves in college he does have the ability to be adequate guarding point guards and very good guarding wings.
Overall FitOverall this looks to be a good fit with Louisville. Head Coach Rick Pitino has proven that he likes two guards who are capable of being primary ball handlers. Both Lyle and current commitment Quentin Snider can easily do that, and by nature both of them are unselfish players so they should have no problem sharing the point guard duties and being on the floor at the same time.
Also with Snider also in the class along with Terry Rozier in the 2013 class, Lyle probably won't be asked to guard the quick point guards that can give him trouble. Instead he will guard wings and scoring guards, which is something that suits him better.
Finally, Pitino is known for doing well in getting the most of kids with a lot of talent. With Lyle no one has ever questioned his talent, rather his focus to be great and his conditioning. Those are two areas where Pitino in the past has proven he can get the most out of his players, and overall it seems like a good match of player and coach.
Brian Snow and Josh Gershon contributed to this report.