Lyons' confidence contagious

Whether it is described as swagger, confidence, or cockiness, Mark Lyons has it. Read on to see Sean Miller's thoughts on that attitude, why Lyons has played so well, and more.

By now it is no secret that one of the reasons Arizona is so improved this season is because Mark Lyons has made an impact from the first time he stepped on the court for Arizona. Although Lyons has seen some criticism in his career for not being a point guard, he has succeeded at the position so far this year.

"That's an important position in college basketball," Sean Miller said. "He's done it very well. Mark (Lyons) is more of a combo guy, which is fine, and you want to use the strengths that he has. He continues getting better and better playing the point guard position."

Even if Lyons is struggling, he tends to play with a certain confidence that rubs off on his teammates. One of the biggest beneficiaries of that confidence has been Nick Johnson.

"Mark Lyons brings qualities to our team every point guard does," Miller said. "He has great belief in his own ability, but he also believes in our team. He's used to winning, he's used to playing in big games, and he's used to performing in big games. When one player feels that way, it can become contagious.

"No question, I think that hasn't just rubbed off on Nick, but that's rubbed off on anybody. Like I've said dozens of times, Nick as a sophomore, Nick as a freshman, that's the growth you want to see as an individual. He's really playing at a very, very high level, and he does it on both sides of the ball."

Lyons has been Arizona's best free-throw shooter this season and always seems to step up towards the end of the game. It is those qualities that have given many Arizona fans the belief that Lyons is one of the best closers in the country.

"He gets to the foul line and he's such an exceptional free throw shooter that that's one of the weapons we have in our offense," Miller said. "You can take it for granted that the ball always goes in, but when you talk about a point guard closing out games, a lot of times it's their ability to make free throws, and again that's something he does very well."

Throughout the week leading up to the Arizona State game, Lyons heard numerous discussions about who would get the advantage between him and Jahii Carson. Although Lyons took the matchup seriously, he has bigger goals in mind.

"I don't want to be the best point guard in the PAC-12, I want to be the best in the country," he said. "I'm aiming for the moon, so I can be amongst the stars. I play every game as if it's my last."

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