I am officially back from vacation, and while I was met with an unpleasant surprise at work, it is good to be back podcasting and writing for you fine people.
As we count down the top ten, we have arrived at #8 where Chris Lykes, one of my favorite players in the entire country, resides. Though it has been said ad nauseam, if this guy were 6’3 he’d be a NBA lottery selection. The 5’7 (generous) point guard averaged 16.2 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.7 rebounds as a sophomore, and solidified himself as one of the most dynamic players in the ACC. Lykes was also one of only four players in the league that logged 1000 minutes and boasted a usage rate was north of 27% with a turnover percentage under 16%.
The Miami Hurricanes were struck down by a depleted roster last season for a variety of reasons. Dewan (Huell) Hernandez was lost for the season due to impermissible benefits stemming from a relationship with an agent while his backup, Deng Gak, was lost to yet another injury. Miles Wilson, a promising transfer from Mt. Saint Marys, was dismissed in late September, further crippling the ‘Canes depth.
All of this did little to slow down Lykes however as he managed, sometimes single handily, to keep the ‘Canes in games. Through the first 17 games of the season he averaged north of 18 points per game, shooting over 37% from deep, including seven 20+ point efforts. Eventually, heavy minutes and an upgrade in competition took a predictable toll on Lykes and Miami. Lykes averaged just 14 points and shot just 27% from deep over the final 15 games as the ‘Canes went 5-10 down the stretch.
Miami will have much more depth this season and Lykes should receive more consistent help in both the front and back courts. He has the potential to be a 20 point per game player if the ‘Canes can keep him fresh. If he is able to avoid the wall, and everyone stays healthy, this Miami team could find itself on the bubble come March.