Four-star New Hampton (N.H.) School power forward Tyler Lydon was the first player to commit to Syracuse in the 2015 class. He has caught the attention of many with his skill set, including USA Basketball. He was invited to try out for the under-18 squad, and was one of the players selected to make the team.
"It was a really great experience," Lydon said. "I'm really honored and blessed to be able to be in that position to get there. I learned a lot from the coaches there. Especially during all of the practices. Being coached up by Billy Donovan and Sean Miller.
"A lot of the practices were how it will be in college, so I understand what it will take to achieve at that level. I think it helped me become a better player for the next level."
Specifically, Lydon got a taste of what it takes to thrive in college basketball. He plans to use that in order to be ready to contribute when he arrives on the Syracuse campus.
"I learned that to be successful at the next level, it's going to take a lot more energy," Lydon said. "I usually am the guy that tries to play as hard as he can. But here it was a whole new level. There were times where I was gassed out after just four minutes of play because I was going to the max.
"I learned that effort is going to be the key."
The U.S. squad had a successful run of it, winning the gold medal in the FIBA Americas Tournament. Always humble, Lydon was just happy to be a part of the experience.
"It was unbelievable," Lydon said. "I really didn't think I would make the team at all. When I was invited as one of 25 players at my age, I felt truly honored. I was just so excited to go out there for tryouts.
"Making the team was a bonus and everything from that point made the experience even greater. Winning the gold medal is just something that you dream of. Watching guys like LeBron (James) and Carmelo (Anthony) do it, it's an unbelievable experience."
Lydon shot the ball well and was the best rebounder on the team despite playing fewer minutes than many others. He credits that success to what he learned during practice.
"I feel like I just said before the tournament to come out with a lot of energy and effort," Lydon said. "I knew with all of the scorers we had, I was going to do the other things. I knew I wouldn't have to be one of those guys because we had so many guys that can score.
"I just brought positive energy and went hard every game. I really put an emphasis on crashing the boards and I was shooting the ball pretty well. So I kept shooting when I had the chance."
Lydon added that he remains in constant communication with Syracuse, primarily with assistant Mike Hopkins. He is hoping for big things from the Orange this season, and will be cheering for a national championship.