Tyler Lydon showing growth defensively in NCAA Tournament

Tyler Lydon showing growth defensively in NCAA Tournament

first_img Published on March 26, 2016 at 6:51 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 Lydon doesn’t typically practice with the big men, because he’s often used out on the wing as a forward. He’ll sub in for Dajuan Coleman during 5-on-5 scrimmages, but doesn’t do many of the individual drills with those players. Mike Hopkins will give him pointers on where to be in certain situations, how to make the right rotations and read defenses. His speed and ability to slide has allowed him to be a center without the size of a player like Coleman.In December, Hopkins said that Lydon had the IQ of a 38-year-old who has been in the NBA. Still, Lydon will hold on to moments, he says, where he doesn’t play well — when he isn’t that athlete smarter beyond his years. That North Carolina game is one, but there are many more.Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis wasn’t neutralized well against Syracuse on Friday. But in the first half, Lydon did a good job trapping him and forcing him to either pass or take a bad shot. That’s partly how Lydon got to his impressive block total. He was always in the right place at the right time.He makes plays that seniors don’t make, Boeheim said when his team was in the Bahamas. He “sees two plays ahead,” Hopkins said in December.His final block on Friday, though, ensured there weren’t two more plays to be had. It all but ended Gonzaga’s chances, and propelled the Orange into the Elite Eight.“He’s a good athlete,” Tyler Roberson said. “Obviously he has really good timing and long arm. And he uses quickness to his advantage. “Obviously at this point, he’s more adept at center.” Comments CHICAGO — Tyler Lydon played the fewest minutes (23) of his career when Syracuse lost to North Carolina on Jan. 9. It was after that game that Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said he thought Lydon was “just not quite ready yet, physically, to do some of the things.”The freshmen center/forward was trying to feel his way around, he said. He had experienced a lull defensively and offensively since his breakout in the Bahamas. He wasn’t the player he was then, or the presence that he has since become.“I don’t think that I’ve physically grown or anything like that,” Lydon said. “I’ve grown mentally. I think that’s the biggest change in my game. I’m not really worried about my offense. I’m more worried about my defensive stops.”Lydon’s defense has been on full display in this postseason. It’s clear he’s gone from “not quite ready” to a defender that uses his speed and instincts rather than physicality to be a presence on the inside. In the past two games he’s recorded 12 blocks, six in each game. The last, and most crucial with 1.6 seconds left, sealed Syracuse’s (22-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) 63-60 win over Gonzaga.On Sunday at 6:09 p.m., he’ll go up against No. 1 seed Virginia (29-7, 13-5), a team he played against during that difficult stretch. He recorded 26 minutes but took just one shot and grabbed only four rebounds. But in watching tape of him since, the Cavaliers know they’re getting a different player.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“A lot of guys, in their freshman year, go through a freshman hump,” UVA center Anthony Gill said. “And I guess he was in that little funk when we played them. But he’s really picked it up since then. I think the confidence aspect is really what picked up in his game.”MORE COVERAGEDougherty: Syracuse-Virginia will be a rare clash of brand-name defenses3 things Jim Boeheim said: Timeouts, Tyler Roberson and Tony BennettTrevor Cooney is driving into the paint more by designDougherty: The ACC, with half the Elite 8, was an especially important proving ground for SyracuseSyracuse gets 2nd chance to slow down Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon10 fun facts about VirginiaSyracuse basketball predictions for Elite Eight matchup with Virginia3 things Tony Bennett said: Michael Gbinije, Malachi Richardson and owning the zonecenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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