Men's Basketball

Tyler Lydon reportedly leaving Syracuse and declaring for the NBA Draft

Jessica Sheldon | Staff Photographer

Tyler Lydon is reportedly forgoing his last two years of eligibly to enter the NBA Draft.

Tyler Lydon didn’t take long to decide his basketball future. The dynamic sophomore forward will sign with an agent and enter the 2017 NBA Draft, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

After recording his ninth double-double of the season in the Orange’s season-ending loss to Mississippi on Saturday, Lydon didn’t comment when asked about his future. It has long been speculated that he would leave for the NBA after this season, including by head coach Jim Boeheim. Several NBA Draft projections have Lydon going as a late first-round pick. At a press conference on Monday, Boeheim said he met with Lydon around 1 p.m. and he had not yet signed with an agent.

Players can retain NCAA eligibility by declaring for the NBA Draft until April 23, with the ability to withdraw until May 24. But signing with an agent immediately forfeits a player’s remaining NCAA eligibility.

Boeheim cautioned Lydon about jumping into the NBA Draft now, knowing he lacked the “monster year” it would’ve taken for him to get lottery pick consideration.

“He didn’t demonstrate this year that he can be a lottery pick,” Boeheim said, “but next year I know he can be. That’s what I told him. I think he can come back here and demonstrate that he can be a lottery pick.

“I think it’s a better way to go to the NBA. You make money, they draft you high, they play you. Half the picks between 20-30 are out of the league within three years.”

The 6-foot-9 forward refused all season to hint about his future, saying he didn’t ever glance at how often his name popped up on mock draft boards. Instead Lydon always pointed his focus back toward the current season, which he finished averaging 13.2 points per game and a team-high 8.6 rebounds per game.

But Lydon dipped in and out of offensive slumps throughout the season. Whether he lacked personal aggression to get to the basket or his teammates didn’t find him enough on the floor, Lydon didn’t put up the offensive numbers many thought he would. He made more than one 3-pointer only once in Syracuse’s last 11 games and scored more than 20 points in three games all season.

After Lydon shot 2-of-7 and scored five points in SU’s ACC tournament loss to Miami on March 8, Boeheim said Lydon’s not ready to be a big scorer.

“I think he had a very average year,” Boeheim said. “…I disagree with the decision (to leave Syracuse) because I think he can be a lottery pick.”

Lydon could have taken more time to make his decision, knowing he could still work out for teams next month and enter the NBA Draft combine before losing the chance to come back to SU. But Monday’s report would indicate that Lydon believes he is ready now.

“That’s a dream I’ve had,” Lydon said in an interview last month, “to go to the NBA.”

It looks like it’s going to become reality on June 22.

 

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