Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Oklahoma State in Hot Pursuit of JaQuan Lyle; No Official Visits Until March
By JASON MORROWSpecial to ZAGSBLOGKETTERING, Ohio – Just one of the few un-committed top prospects in the 2014 class is Huntington (W.V.) Prep’s JaQuan Lyle, who dominated in Monday’s 78-36 win over Cleveland Central Catholic at the Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational, going for 16 points, seven assists and three rebounds.
The quality of play has been noticeably higher for Prep and Lyle as of late, and the 6-foot-5 guard explained why.
“We got to go home for two weeks and got our minds right and got our bodies back right, and now we are back to playing good basketball,” the ex-Louisville commit Lyle said. “One good win versus Prime Prep, and another good win [Monday], so we are playing real well.”
There has been no break for the recruitment of Lyle, however, as Oklahoma State has stepped to the forefront in pursuit of the Evansville, Ind., native. Head coach Travis Ford was in attendance for Monday’s win as well.
“They’ve been on me hard because they lose Markel Brown, he’s a senior, and then Marcus Smart he’s going to the NBA,” Lyle said. “So they need somebody to come in and play impact minutes right away. Coach Ford, he likes big guards…and he kind of compared me and [Smart] together.”
Lyle was originally slated to take an official visit to Oklahoma State’s Big 12 rival, Kansas, last weekend, but was forced to reschedule. He stated that he is “for sure” going to take an official visit there still.
The dates on future official visits will most likely have to wait until after the season.
“I mean the timing right now, every weekend is booked for us,” Lyle said. “Pretty much all my officials will be after the season for sure unless one of the games get cancelled or something like that. Pretty much after March 3, that’s when I’m going to start taking officials.”
Oregon is another school still in the picture, and a program that jumped on him right after his de-commit from Louisville. Lyle said the relationship with the staff in Eugene has been important.
“There’s a real good relationship right there, me and [assistant] coach [Tony] Stubblefield,” Lyle added. “We developed a relationship probably three days after I de-committed so I mean me and him have been going steady.”
Lyle has already visited Memphis and UConn, and is also being heavily pursued by West Virginia.
As for what factors will help him make his decision, Lyle said it’s about the game itself that matters.
“Just the opportunity to play right away and the style of play has to fit me,” He said. [At] Louisville, I felt like it was a great fit all on the offensive end, but on the defensive end I’m not the full-court defensive guy. This was the best opportunity for playing time and style of play.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.