Men's Basketball

Former Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon: ‘I’m on cloud 9 right now’

Jessica Sheldon | Staff Photographer

Lydon, a Syracuse standout for two seasons, was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, but his rights are likely to be traded to the Denver Nuggets.

Tyler Lydon was playing wiffle ball at home Thursday afternoon. By the time the clock struck 11 p.m., his name had flashed across the screens of televisions all over the country. He’ll fly across the country to Denver in the coming days and, with a powder blue jersey on, answer questions at a press conference. Soon, he said, his nerves will calm down enough that he’ll be able to eat.

It has been a crazy few hours for Lydon. He was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, but his rights are likely to be traded to the Denver Nuggets. He wasn’t in Brooklyn for the draft itself, instead choosing to host his closest family and friends for a draft watch party at his home in Elizaville, New York, about 50 miles south of Albany. With them surrounding him, a lifelong dream was fulfilled.

“I’m on cloud nine right now,” he said.

Lydon said he really started to lock into the television broadcast once the range of picks he was predicted to be selected in arrived. He admitted that he didn’t expect to go to the Nuggets. Lydon worked out for 11 NBA teams, and Denver wasn’t one of them. He said he and his agent thought about trying to fit them into his schedule, but it didn’t make the most sense considering the Denver’s position in the draft. But the stars aligned after the trade with Utah.

“They just said ‘Tyler,’ and then I heard ‘Ly,’ and then everybody just exploded,” Lydon said. “This is obviously an incredible moment, something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I couldn’t be more thankful to share it with the friends and family that came here.”

From a location perspective, Lydon, who has a wolf tattooed on his chest and is an outdoorsman at his core, isn’t complaining about going to Denver. His family is already envisioning the fly fishing and elk hunting that lies in the future. But he will be there to play basketball, and he thinks his ability to stretch the floor, along with his lifestyle, will fit in right away.

“I’m so happy and I’m ready to go in there and work my butt off,” Lydon said. “Those guys, they put their reputation and everything on the line for me.”

The former Syracuse forward played in Denver as a part of Team USA’s U-18 squad. The thin air might take a few days of adjustment, he said, but it’s not something he’s worried about.

In fact, he said he’s not worried about much at all. Not about when he needs to get to Denver, or about the summer league, or what’ll be the first thing he buys when he signs his name on the dotted line of a rookie contract. He’s living in the moment.

“It’s just an unbelievable thing to have your dreams come true,” Lydon said.

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