The basketball recruiting open period begins April 10, and one of the underclassmen prospects the Maryland staff will be keeping a close eye on is class of 2017 point guard Chris Lykes. The Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) prospect, who will begin his AAU season with Team Takeover at the Boo Williams Invitational in Hampton, Va., has been in touch with his Terps’ recruiter, Dustin Clark, for more than a year now and continues to hear from him on a regular basis.
“I’ve been talking to Maryland since my freshman year, when Coach Clark saw me with the 15Us [15 and under] in AAU ball. He was telling me how he likes my game, likes how I compete and thinks I’m a good player,” said the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Lykes, who holds offers from George Washington, Richmond, Old Dominion, Siena and Hofstra. “They’re saying they want to see me improve as a floor general and just take charge of the game, so I’m looking to show them I can do that this spring for the live period. I’m really hoping Maryland comes after me.”
Lykes earned his current set of offers during his sophomore season, in which he averaged 14.6 points and almost six assists a night. But he said not many high-major programs, other than UMD, have been in contact yet, likely due to height concerns.
“I understand I’m only 5-7,” Lykes said, chuckling. “I think a lot of high-majors are scared of that. Maryland hasn’t really said anything about [my height], but I assume that might be something that might hold them back [from offering]. But that’s why I think this live period is so important for me, so I can prove I can play at a high-major level.”
The D.C. product can’t help how tall he is, but he has been honing other parts of his game this offseason. He said Takeover started practices early, and he’s been going through plenty of drills with his coaches.
“I’ve been working on the range on my shot, my ball-handling and just becoming that floor general out there. I think my shot has really improved, and if I keep working on that it will really open up my game with the speed and quickness I already have,” Lykes said. “And there’s a new fitness center that opened up right by my house, so I’ve been lifting weights, working on my legs and working on my stamina – the little things to get ready for AAU.”
As aforementioned, Lykes is hoping the hometown Terps in particular take notice. So far that’s the only school he’s seen in-depth, and though he’s not a Maryland “fan” per se, he paid plenty of attention to Mark Turgeon’s squad.
“I like Maryland a lot – a whole lot,” Lykes said. “That program has really turned around under Coach Turgeon. I mean, if you’re from around here, who wouldn’t want to play in that atmosphere and under Coach Turgeon right now? They’re back in the [NCAA] tournament, they’re recruiting great players and they’re winning.
“I was watching the McDonald’s All-American Game, and I saw Diamond Stone (Dominican/Whitefish Bay, Wisc.). He’s going to be a problem for [opponents] next year when he’s at Maryland. I mean, that’s huge [for Maryland].”
Lykes said he took note of both rival Anthony Cowan’s (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) commitment to Maryland, as well as the progress local point guard Melo Trimble made during his first year in College Park, Md.
“Just seeing Melo going there and becoming a leader right away, and then Anthony, another point guard like me, wanting to go there – that’s big,” Lykes said. “I mean, those guys wanted to stay close to their families and they wanted to play for the hometown school. That’s big and guys [in the DMV] definitely look at that. So for me personally, yeah, it’s definitely on my radar if I get an offer. Like I said, I really like Maryland and would love the chance to play for them.”
The local point guard was able to attend Maryland’s game against Michigan State last winter and plans to return to College Park at some point this summer. He called the atmosphere inside Xfinity Center “amazing” and said he loved being around the students and players.
“It’s just a great basketball experience at Maryland,” Lykes said. “I was pretty close to the court, and it was electric. It’s a great place to play. Who wouldn’t want to play there right now?”
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