Lyons Cutting Down on Cheeksovers

It's no secret that when Mark Lyons was out of the lineup early in the season, South Kent struggled. With the junior point guard back in the fold, Raphael Chillious & Co., have responded. Lyons makes his share of mistakes, but Chillious will take the Cheeksovers because of what Lyons does to create opportunities for himself and his teammates.

Mark Lyons doesn't mind coming off the bench since Isaiah Thomas arrived at South Kent. In fact, he loves playing alongside the Washington native.

``Even though I'm coming off the bench, I'm playing more minutes," said the 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior point guard.

``Isaiah and I play a lot together," Lyons added.

Lyons, better known as "Cheeks", is averaging about 18 points per game since returning from a shoulder injury that shelved him for a few games early in the season.

``He's one of the more underrated players out there," South Kent coach Raphael Chillious said. "He competes harder than anyone I've ever coached and can get by anyone with the ball."

Chillious said even the Cheeksover's have decreased.

``That's what I call a bad turnover by Cheeks," he said. "It's when he tries to make something happen and I've learned to put up with it because he can get you a bucket when you really need it."

That has been the biggest chance in Lyons since he arrived from Schenectady in New York.

``Guys are so much bigger and faster," Lyons said. "Instead of going against a 6-foot-5 big man, now they are 6-10 or 7-footers. You can get away with playing a little out of control in high school, but you can't do that here."

``I feel like I've matured both on and off the court," he added.

Lyons is a guy who uses his aggressiveness and athleticism to cause havoc on opposing defenses, especially in the lane. He's also a terrific on-ball defender. His decision-making isn't the only facet of his game that has improved since he landed at South Kent; his perimeter shot is falling more often.

Schools have started to take notice. Clemson, Washington, Seton Hall, Fordham, Xavier, St. John's and Rutgers are watching closely.

``Honestly, I want to make my decision soon – but I want to make the right one," Lyons said. "I want to go somewhere that I can get some playing time as a freshman."

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