Point Guard U caught up with former Arizona Wildcat point guard Mark Lyons, a key part of the 2013 Sweet 16 team, to see how he’s doing and talk some hoops.
Lyons is currently playing overseas in Croatia where he is turning heads with his poster dunks and ankle-breaking crossovers. He was the runner-up in the dunk contest and has played well thus far while trying to adapt to the new life style.
Playing with teammates that don’t speak English has been the biggest obstacle that he’s faced while playing professionally in Europe. The food, culture and lifestyle are all different to him, but he’s really enjoying his time there.
Lyons said he has been doing his best to watch as many games as possible despite the time difference.
When I asked who has impressed him the most so far this season he replied, “I’d have to say Nick Johnson. We all knew he was going to be good this year, but he’s taken his game to another level and his leadership shows both on the court and off.”
On what Sean Miller is telling the team at this point of the season:
“Right now Sean is telling the guys in the locker room to just stay focused and take it one game at a time. It’s important for them to keep their composure and get ready for the stretch run.”
Lyons said Miller always finds new ways to push the team yet he is very consistent with his approach, which helps give his players a good balance of confidence and motivation.
On what makes Miller such a great recruiter:
“Sean has really turned this program around. There were a few shaky years, but he righted the ship and has brought Arizona back to being a powerhouse.”
“The thing I liked most about Coach Miller was that he was straight up with me, and very genuine whenever we spoke. I came to Arizona because it just felt right. I knew it was the right fit.”
On who he stays in touch with the most:
Lyons said he talks to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, TJ McConnell, Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley frequently, but he also has great relationships with the team managers and talks to them just as much as any player or coach on the team.
Something you may not know is that Mark Lyons has a great relationship with freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson despite never playing with him.
Lyons calls Rondae his “little brother” and says they hit it off while hosting Jefferson when he took his visit on campus last season and he attributes part of that to both of them being from the East Coast.
On his favorite memory while playing for Arizona:
Lyons said his favorite memory in his brief time at Arizona was playing in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Winning the championship, boasting the undefeated record (at the time) and being able to spend time with his family and friends was an experience he’ll always cherish.
On coaching staff’s yearly expectations:
“Obviously, they expect to make the final four every year and to claim the Pac-12 crown. A national title is the ultimate goal though, of course.”
Lyons believes Miller will win a NC within the next couple years with the talent he’s bringing in it’s “bound to happen soon”.
On Brandon Ashley’s season-ending injury:
Lyons says that the team is rallying behind Ashley and that “the best has yet to come from this group.” He wishes Ashley the best and believes he is going to bounce back strong next year and this setback will only add to his motivation.
On his future:
Lyons said he could have a desire to become an assistant coach when he finishes with his playing career.
He said, “I’ve learned a lot from Miller and his coaching staff and from some of my other great coaches throughout my career and I feel like I could make a good coach or mentor for younger point guards out there.”
Lyons had a huge impact in his lone season at the Point Guard University and we wish him the best wherever his career may take him next. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.
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