SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Tyler Lydon got off to a memorable start at Syracuse. He was an essential piece to their success in the Bahamas, and quickly shot up the NBA Draft boards. He's currently projected as a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, according to Draft Express.
Aside from all the accolades he's received, Lydon looked comfortable on the floor earlier this season, and it showed. Through his first six games at Syracuse, the 6-foot-9 frosh was averaging 11.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. His name was picked up by the national media after an impresive Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, in which Syracuse won after defeating Charlotte, No. 18 Connecticut and No. 25 Texas A&M. He averaged 15.6 points and 9.3 rebounds during that 3-game stretch.
Lydon simply wasn't playing like a freshman in the beginning of the season. But since then, we've witnessed many freshman growing pains, but none bigger than a lack of confidence.
Last night against 25th-ranked Notre Dame, Lydon took double-digit shot attempts for the first time since December 27th vs. Texas Southern. With his lower shot attempts, his numbers have suffered, and so did SU's offense.
"I think it hurts us when he doesn't shoot," fellow freshman Malachi Richardson said after last night's win over the Irish.
Senior Michael Gbinije also reached out to Tyler about his confidence. "He just lets me know that not every shot is going to fall," Lydon said. "It's something I'm pretty hard on myself about. I'm just trying to be perfect and that's not something that's possible in basketball. He jsut lets me know you're not going to make every shot, but you have to stay confidence, and just let it fly."
He scored 15 points last night, which is the most since October 26th vs. UConn. He was 5-for-10 from the floor, and also grabbed 10 rebounds, giving him his third double-double of the season.
"I've said it before, when you see the ball go through the hoop it feels good. It makes you want to shoot the ball a bit more, quality and carefree," he said after yesterday's game.
When Lydon takes over ten shots a game, the Orange are 4-0 including 2 wins over top-25 teams.
"Lydon's really a tough match up," Irish head coach Mike Brey said.
"He got wide-open looks and he can make those shots," Boeheim said. "When they're giving them, he's gotta take them."