JaQuan Lyle is one of three great guards the Buckeyes have in the 2015 recruiting class, along with A.J. Harris and Austin Grandstaff. If you aren't a diehard hoophead, you may have noticed that Lyle has been in the news lately, due to the alleged scandal at Louisville involving former Louisville staff member Andre McGee, who reportedly brought four escorts to put on a "show" for Lyle, who confirmed the allegations.
But we aren't here to talk about that, Ohio State basketball spokesman Dan Wallenberg told Yahoo Sports that it was not something that the school was worried about, and that it would not affect JaQuan. So until something changes, Lyle and Ohio State are focused on the upcoming season, which could be an exciting one.
A Look Back:
JaQuan Lyle started his high school career at Bosse High School in Evansville, Indiana. His coach had always said that he wouldn't start a freshman, but Lyle was apparently the exception to that rule. As a sophomore, he was a key piece to a team that made it to the Indiana state semifinal against Indianapolis Pike, which featured two future first-round NBA picks Marquis Teague and R.J. Hunter. Lyle would play one more year at Bosse, before transferring to Huntington Prep in West Virginia. Lyle committed to Louisville in the summer of 2013, before decommitting in September of the same year.
At Huntington Prep, Lyle was best known for a game-winning 3-pointer he hit against La Lumiere (IN) in the 2014 Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament, sending his team to the semifinals. Lyle averaged 17.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game at Huntington Prep. Lyle was originally in the 2014 class, and had committed to Oregon, but was never enrolled as he lacked academic credits, and was removed from the roster in mid-September of that year.
Lyle went to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida to make himself eligible after things didn't work out at Oregon, and committed to Ohio State in January of 2015.
Outlook for 2015-16:
Lyle should be another great player in a line of very productive and talented Ohio State guards. He provides many great skills on the court, especially his vision. Early on in his high school career, his coach would speak of how his passes were so great, and so unexpected, that his teammates couldn't handle them, and he had to hold back on them. Now, Lyle can go all in, and really show what he's made of at the college level.
He'll need to, because this Ohio State team is short on established ballhandlers, playmakers, or scorers, and Lyle will likely need to handle a significant amount of those duties right off the bat. He's not the same caliber or type of player as the departed D'Angelo Russell, and likely won't be putting the team on his back on that scale, but how far Ohio State goes this season will likely rest, in large part, on where Lyle can take them. He should one of Ohio State's leading scorers for the season.
Best Case Scenario:
Lyle steps into some awfully big shoes, and lives up to his high recruiting ranking quickly. His court vision allows him to play a 1 or a 2 at any time, giving the Buckeyes roster flexibility, spreading playing time around to their different guards. Lyle leads the team in scoring, and grows as a passer and a defender over the course of the season, helping other Buckeyes stay involved and grow, especially Ohio State's young frontcourt.
Worst Case Scenario:
The learning curve in the Big Ten is steeper than it looks, and Lyle struggles to shoot consistently. Without a proven other primary scorer on the roster, Lyle becomes more of an ISO player, charging to the basket instead of setting up his players, and the Buckeyes see their offense grind to a halt when his shot isn't falling. That frustration bleeds into his focus on defense as well, forcing Ohio State to play A.J Harris a little more than they would have liked this season. Lyle is still one of Ohio State's top scorers, but their lack of efficiency keeps him from reaching his potential, and the rest of the team follows suit.