Roundball royalty

Even with top-ranked and ultra-talented LSU visiting Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, the most gifted athlete at Neyland Stadium this weekend may not be a football player.

Jaquan Lyle, a 15-year-old basketball star who is rated the No. 2 shooting guard for the Class of 2014 by Scout.com, is making an unofficial visit to The Hill on Saturday. Accompanying him will be his coach at Bosse High in Evansville, Ind., Shane Burkart, and Shane's son, Bo, a quality prospect in his own right. Their itinerary includes taking in the Vol-LSU showdown.

Lyle and Bo Burkhart originally were scheduled to visit Tennessee a week ago for the UT-Georgia football weekend but rescheduled in order to attend the prestigious John Lucas Pre-Olympic Camp.

"Participating in the Lucas camp gives him a better chance to make the U.S. team that will be assembled in Colorado Springs (for the World University Games)," Shane Burkhart said. "I feel Jaquan will definitely get consideration for that team."

Simply put, the 6-4, 190-pound Lyle has upside that is off the charts. He averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game as a freshman in 2010-11 — leading Bosse in rebounding while ranking second in scoring and assists. His versatility gives opponents fits.

"If they guard him with a point Jaquan just takes him down to the post," Shane Burkhart said. "If they guard him with a big, he goes out to the perimeter and takes him off the bounce or creates for other players. He could play 1 through 3 at the college level or he could be a point forward, which is what we run him as here at Bosse. Right now he's a matchup nightmare."

Asked what separates Lyle from most prospects, Burkhart answered: "He's a prolific passer. His court sense and court knowledge for his age are unbelievable."

That may be why one college coach referred to Lyle as "Baby Magic," noting similarities to former NBA great Magic Johnson. Other coaches compare Lyle to Jalen Rose, another former NBA standout.

"He's real long, real smooth with the basketball," Burkhart noted, "and he has a knack for the game."

Lyle already has scholarship offers from Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois of the Big Ten. Despite the incredible hype he is getting at such a young age, he is handling his celebrity status quite well.

"He's actually done a pretty good job of staying humble," Burkhart said. "A lot of people are trying to reach out and get a piece of him but my coaching staff and his grandmother do a good job of keeping people away. I was an assistant at Marion High before taking this job, and we had multiple major prospects, so I learned a lot about handling these situations. We try to keep him at arm's length, keep him working on his grades and keep growing as an individual."

Although Bosse relies heavily on three seniors, the offense basically runs through young Lyle.

"We want to stretch the floor and play as fast as we can," Burkhart said. "In the halfcourt we use motion to get Jaquan into a mismatch situation. It's a nightmare matchup for opposing coaches but we really like it (laughs)."

The coach described Lyle's outside shot as "very, very good for his age but extremely streaky," adding: "He struggles to get going sometimes but once he does he just doesn't miss. One game last year we were down 10 and he hit back-to-back-to-back 3s that pulled us within one with a minute and a half to go. When he makes one he believes the next five or six are going in."

Like most teenagers, Lyle's defense leaves a bit to be desired.

"Ah, well ... typical freshman," Burkhart said. "We've been a predominant 'man' team and we've begun to press a little bit. His length helps us. The thing we've got to constantly work on with him is to get tougher on the defensive end."

Here's what Scout.com recruiting expert Brian Snow has to say about Lyle:

"Jaquan is one of the elite players in the 2014 class. He can play any of the three perimeter positions, which makes him an elite prospect. He's a very good passer who can make open shots from outside and is very adept at getting into the lane off the dribble. He's grown up a lot in the last year. He's just beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be. We have him ranked among the elite players already, and he hasn't even figured out how good he can be yet."

Although overshadowed a bit by Lyle, Bo Burkhart is a quality prospect, too. He's a 5-10 sophomore who can light it up from outside.

"He can shoot the basketball," Shane Burkhart said. "Obviously, being a coach's son he loves the game. He had broken foot last year and played down quite a bit."


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