Evansville Bosse star JaQuan Lyle, one of the Top 15 prospects in the Class of 2014, put on a show…
Lyle talks visits and offer
So far this season Jaquan Lyle has been busy. He is leading his Evansville (Ind.) Bosse team to one of the best seasons it has had in a while, and also making his way to several college campuses for visits. For the No. 13 player in the 2014 class this whole year has been an experience to grow and learn. Coming into the season the expectations were high for Bosse. With four players who will earn division I basketball scholarships on the roster, Lyle and his teammates knew the pressure was on, and so far they have done a good job. "The season has been real good," said Lyle. "We are 14-3 so that is good, and I think individually I am playing well. I am sharing the ball with my teammates, I am scoring better, and I have been more aggressive this year than in the past. Still at the same time my main focus is to get my teammates easy buckets, and I feel I have been doing that." Being a highly thought of player with early offers in a basketball crazy state, Lyle can sometimes find himself under a microscope before even being able to get a driver's license, but he is learning to deal with it. "It's hard sometimes because you want to live up to the expectations, but you can't worry about that," said Lyle. "You have to be yourself and be a team player and focus on getting your team better. You can't worry about other things, you just have to go out and play ball every game and every day in practice." On the recruiting trail schools like Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and Xavier were the first four to come forward with interest and offers, and since then Tennessee, Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State, and numerous others have all joined the fold. The most recent visit that Lyle took was to Ohio State, and he came away with a surprise offer. "We got there and I was thinking we would have some decent seats, and then I look at our tickets and it says ‘row A', and they were literally right behind the bench so I was excited," said Lyle of his visit. "We watched them go through a pre-game shooting workout. I got to talk to Jared (Sullinger) and Deshaun (Thomas) a little bit which was cool." He continued, "After that we went into the locker room to talk with Coach Matta, and I didn't think he would offer, which he didn't at first, and we talked about how I have been playing and how they think I have matured and everything." While the offer from the Buckeyes didn't come before their big win over Michigan, it did take place after, and Lyle was excited about it. "After the game Coach (Dave) Dickerson told us to stay," said Lyle. "So coach talked to the players and the coaches and then Coach Dickerson called me back, and it was me and Coach (Thad) Matta. He was telling me how good of a player that I have been, and that I have a scholarship to Ohio State." Lyle continued, "I wasn't expecting an offer because he hadn't seen me since July. He then came in and watched me workout on Monday so that was real good." Previous to the Ohio State visit, Lyle took a trip to Illinois. The Fighting Illini have been involved with him from the beginning, and Lyle says the trip was a good experience. "I got to witness them play Wisconsin at home, and Coach (Bruce) Weber just told me if they don't defend and rebound they won't win, and they didn't rebound well in the first half," said Lyle. "The visit was pretty good. I talked to coach before and after the game, and he was saying that I have matured a lot mentally and I have gotten a lot better. " He continued about Illinois, "Coach Weber just told me to take it all in and not let anything get to my head and to keep playing the way I have been this season." Those are the two most recent visits Lyle has taken, but also games at Louisville, Michigan State, and Indiana were seen, and all of them made an impression. "That was a visit that I liked," said Lyle of Michigan State. "I got there kind of early so I could be with my family before the game. When I got to campus I didn't get to speak to Coach (Tom) Izzo before the game, but after the game I went into the locker room. He just talked about how good he thinks I am and he asked me if I thought I could fit into the program." According to Lyle, he likes the way that Michigan State allows their guards to play and have freedom within the offense. "I told him I thought I could fit in because to me point guards have a lot of freedom in his offense," said Lyle. "I liked that visit a lot and I had a real good time up there." Maybe the game of the year in college basketball was Kentucky visiting Indiana, and it was one where Lyle had a front row seat. "The whole game was just crazy," said Lyle. "We got there for warm-ups and we were sitting right behind the IU bench and I saw Kentucky warm up, and Marquis Teague was doing ball handling drills and he can dribble so quick. All I could think is I am a point guard and I can't dribble like that so it blew me away." He continued, "Watching the game, the whole game was crazy. It was so loud all game long, you couldn't even get text messages there were so many people there, and then when (Christian) Watford hit that shot, I just rushed on the floor like everybody else." Lyle says he even got to enjoy the court storming after with friend and AAU teammate Trey Lyles. "Me and Trey ran onto the floor, and all of the students were asking if I was James Blackmon, and I would laugh and say no," said Lyle. "Me and Trey just stood around, took pictures with people, signed autographs, it was just crazy." Also Lyle got to see Louisville take on the Memphis Tigers and experience the Yum! Center. "The Louisville experience was very good," said Lyle. "We got there and got to sit next to Jonathan Williams, and they were playing Memphis. It was a crazy game, and then Louisville started to pull away at the end." He continued, "It was a great experience. Coach (Kevin) Keatts came down and talked to us, and then I got to meet Coach (Rick) Pitino for the first time. It was a great visit, I liked the way they played which is getting up and down and running whenever they can." While many kids in the state of Indiana, including his friends and classmates Lyles, Blackmon, and Ernie Duncan have all made early commitments, Lyle says not to expect that from him. "I am going to take my time and see what school fits me best," said Lyle. "When I feel like I know the coaching staff, the team, and the educational part of the school is best for me I will make my decision, but I don't think that will be anytime soon." For now Lyle plans on making more unofficial visits. Nothing is set up quite yet, but he says a trip to Kentucky, DePaul, Marquette, or a return visit to Louisville could be next on the agenda.
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