|Posted on June 22, 2017 at 7:45 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
Looking back on a player that he worked with in his room of forwards, Syracuse Orange Associate Head Coach reflected on forward Tyler Lydon heading into the NBA Draft in our one-on-one conversation.
"Tyler came in not as heralded as most," said Autry. "He wasn't as decorated as for example Malachi [Richardson] at that point, at that time, but he made one of the biggest impacts in our program from Day 1."
"Even the heralded people don't make the impact like Tyler Lydon did," Autry added. "Big part of our final four run, huge part of our final four run [in 2016]."
"Since I've been here, in a two-year period, I don't know who's contributed as much to the program as he had."
As far as when Autry really saw something special in Lydon while at Syracuse, Autry replied, "I think when we really got excited about Tyler Lydon, that happened in the Bahamas."
"The Bahamas and the Final Four, he was in his zone. He just really showcased his value to us," Autry went on to say.
With early success, there looms the possibility that a player will leave school early. When Lydon was making shots with or without both of his shoes on en route to Syracuse attaining a place in the Final Four, the notion that he would leave seemed more and more of a reality. "I knew it was there because all of the buzz he had created," Autry recalled.
But following his standout freshman season, Lydon seemed quieter on the court. Autry reacted to the criticism of Lydon falling from Year 1 to Year 2 by saying, "They're two separate seasons. People don't understand every year the team is different, dfferent personnel, different role. It's just a different team. He had a chance to play with two veteran guards in Mike Gbinije and Trevor Cooney...who kinda brought him along as a freshman. This year him trying to step into the role, and not only step into the role of having a bigger role, but then being able to work with John [Gillon] and Andrew [White, III]...that took some time as a team."
Despite Syracuse going from the Final Four to the NIT between the last two seasons, Lydon's overall numbers did increase. In the 2015-16 season, Lydon averaged 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. A year later, in 2016-17, Lydon averaged 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Over both seasons, Lydon remained 47% effective from the field.
"I think they get a guy they use as a spacer, guy that can stretch the floor, make shots, that's gonna rebound his position really well, and still will get better," Autry offered in response to what an NBA team will receive by selecting Lydon.
Speaking on the reaction Lydon had to his time at Syracuse, Autry shared, "Tyler was always appreciative of the work, stage, and the coaching that we provided. I think he'[s a smart kid...a lot of his success was based on the work that he did and the work that we did and the position that he played in our program. So he's very thankful."
"He's a respectful young man."
Being his position coach for two seasons, Autry left Lydon with these words: "The advice that I gave him was just go and don't let this whole thing stress you out. Go and play basketball. You've been doing it. Don't make it more than what it is."
After numerous workouts around the country, Lydon is on the clock for the next chapter in his career, and in his life.
He moves into this chapter with the full support of Autry, no different than if he had come back for Year 3 with the Orange.