Evansville Star Maintaining Interest In UI

Coaching changes disrupt recruiting. That is especially true for top prospects who have numerous outstanding college choices from which to choose. The former Fighting Illini basketball staff had worked hard on the recruitment of Evansville 2014 star JaQuan Lyle, and now new coach John Groce and his staff must start over. Fortunately, Lyle is keeping an open mind.

Jaquan Lyle is a 6'-4", 180-pound combo guard from Bosse High School in Evansville, Indiana. He has caught the eyes of many prestigious college coaches despite just completing his sophomore year.

"I think I have nine offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas State, Purdue, IU, Illinois, Providence, Louisville and Xavier. And the schools that are recruiting me but haven't offered are just too many to name, but just about everyone."

It is still early in Lyle's recruitment, so he has no favorites at this point. But two schools may have an upper hand because they are showing him extra attention.

"All schools are really equal right now. I have to take a lot of visits soon so I can start to see what some schools are like. But Louisville and Ohio State are on me the hardest of all the schools, and they are two schools I like."

Lyle has visited Illinois three times already and was impressed with what he saw.

"I went to a football game, basketball game, and I played in an open gym there before. It's a great place, a great campus, and the old staff was nice. But now they have a new staff, so I'll just have to see."

Lyle has talked with assistant coach Jamall Walker once and head coach John Groce twice. The two coaches gave Lyle a good first impression.

"I think it's a great school. The new coaches say they have a lot of freedom and pick and rolls within the offense. I liked Illinois when Coach (Bruce) Weber was there, so now I just have to take a visit there and see how the new staff is."

Groce's new offensive style is intriguing to Lyle.

"I watched Ohio in the NCAA Tournament against UNC, and if Illinois will play the same way they did, then I like that style for sure."

Lyle plays AAU ball for the Spiece Indy Heat, one of the most talented teams on the Nike EYBL circuit. Coaches from across the country are coming to watch him play, and he has not disappointed.

"[AAU] is going really good. I've been playing really good so far. My goal over the season is just to play good and help my team be able to play in the biggest tournament in the nation, the Peach Jam."

Lyle is rated 4-stars and the No. 2 shooting guard in the 2014 class via Scout. He shared several aspects of his game he believes make him such an elite player.

"I would have to say the better parts of my game are my passing ability, my ability to create plays for my teammates and I, and just being a good point guard. I would compare my game to Tyreke Evans—at least that's what a lot of my teammates say."

Many people have high expectations for Lyle, which can be a lot for a sophomore to handle. In order to keep up with those expectations, he must continually work to improve him game so he can perform to his full potential.

"Some things I want to keep improving are my quickness, I want my ball handling to improve, and I just want to get stronger."

Lyle does not have any specific dates for visits set, but he plans to start arranging those in the next couple weeks.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories