During his freshman season JaQuan Lyle averaged 11.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists for an Ohio State team that missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.
While the numbers were certainly good – Lyle led the team in assists and total points – the freshman had his inconsistencies. Whenever he was asked about them by the media throughout the season the point guard pointed to conversations with GP as helping him get through the struggles of his first year of college ball.
GP, better known as Ohio State assistant Greg Paulus, spoke with the media today. As a former college point guard – Paulus played four seasons for Duke – the Buckeyes youngest assistant has a unique perspective when helping Lyle through his struggles.
“It’s always difficult for a freshman point guard to come right in and have that opportunity,” Paulus said.
“You’re learning through the fire. I did it myself when I was down there at Duke in my first season and the nice thing about when I had it was I had six seniors around me. He was a guy that had a good year for us last year, is a guy that got better throughout the year and is a guy that is going to continue to get better as he progresses and matures through the game. It’s one thing that we do spend a lot of time together and we will continue to work and develop him not only on the court, but off the court as well.”
Lyle’s ups and downs were well documented throughout his first season in Columbus. The freshman had a triple double in Big Ten play, only the second Buckeye freshmen to accomplish that feat. He also finished with five or fewer points on 10 occasions and led the team with 104 turnovers.
The first-year guard also showed his immaturity off the court highlighted by a very public confrontation with head coach Thad Matta during the Big Ten tournament.
Paulus said he too had some rough times with Lyle, but made it clear those moments aren’t atypical of any player adjusting to college basketball.
Going forward the assistant coach is confident he’s in the right position to guide Lyle through his progression as he prepares for his sophomore year.
“I think going through the experience helps because I can relate and understand exactly what he’s going through when he’s had some really good games, when he’s struggled through some moment,” Lyel said. “I’ve been through all that. And understanding playing the position, teaching him on the floor, watching some tape with him you can see his maturation throughout the season.
“But I think you get better through the experiences, through the ups and the downs and the key is to take those and continue to build on it. Continue to get in great shape, continue to work the skills, the understanding of the game. He played a lot of minutes for us, just like a lot of guys, being able to build off of that, understanding certain areas that you need to get better on, strengths and weaknesses, timing, he’ll be able to hopefully be able to carry over to next year hopefully with the other guys.”