Xavier castoff could fill Arizona need

Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller enters the off-season with one

scholarship available and no “true” point guard on his roster.

Guard

Mark Lyons enters the off-season needing a place to play after he, or

his coach, Chris Mack, decided it was not in Lyons’ best interests to

return to Xavier for his senior season. If Lyons, a fourth-year junior,

can earn his degree prior to the fall semester and be accepted into

graduate school at another institution, he would be eligible to play his

senior season without redshirting.

Considering that Lyons was

originally recruited to Xavier by Miller, there appears to be an ideal

match of familiarity, need and opportunity at Arizona — a one-year

window for Lyons to fine-tune his game for the NBA while the Wildcats

wait for Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell to gain eligibility.

That possibility has been floated by various media speculators. But first, a couple points to ponder.

Lyons,

who averaged 15.1 points per game last season at Xavier, has always

been more of a scoring guard than a distributor while Tu Holloway ran

the point for the Musketeers. Is it because the position was occupied,

or because he wasn’t suited for it?

The fact that Lyons wasn’t

welcomed back by Mack, who is losing three other starters, including

Holloway, raises a red flag. Lyons had a reputation for forcing shots

and struggling to play within a team concept. He also was one of the

principals in a nasty brawl between Xavier and arch-rival Cincinnati.

Arizona’s

open scholarship became available only because problem child point

guard Josiah Turner is leaving after just one year. Would Miller be

trading one headache for another? After last weekend’s domestic violence

arrest of forward Jesse Perry, a junior college transfer whose

eligibility is expired, would bringing in a transfer guard with baggage

alienate the fan base? And what kind of message would it send to Jordin

Mayes, who has played behind MoMo Jones (transferred out) and Turner

(transferred out) the past two years while waiting for his chance?

Or maybe Lyons is the victim of a bad rap. Given recent developments, that’s something Miller will want to make doubly sure of.

Stay tuned.

— Dave Lumia