Kansas University is recruiting former Xavier University basketball combo guard Mark Lyons, according to Lyons’ former prep school coach, Jason Smith.
Lyons, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior out of Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., and originally from Schenectady, N.Y., was released from his scholarship agreement at Xavier on Monday.
Lyons, who averaged 15.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game last season, is also being pursued by Arizona, Kentucky and UCLA, Smith indicated on Twitter. Syracuse is another possibility.
Lyons will be immediately eligible if he can complete his undergraduate degree in May.
The Associated Press reported that Xavier coach Chris Mack and Lyons “were at odds during the season, when the guard repeatedly tried to take over games by driving into crowds of defenders or taking long shots.”
Lyons also was suspended two games for his role in a fight against Cincinnati in December. Four players from both teams were suspended as a result of that nonconference brawl.
“After our end-of-the-season meeting with Mark, it became apparent that a change for both parties was the right thing moving forward,” Mack said Monday. “During our meeting, expectations were outlined for his fifth and final season, areas in which I believe needed improvement. Mark did not recognize these expectations as being important, and ultimately it was decided that a change of scenery would be in his best interest. I wish Mark well.”
Lyons was recruited to Xavier by current Arizona head coach Sean Miller.
Arizona recently lost a point guard in sophomore-to-be Josiah Turner, who has announced plans to transfer to a yet-to-be-determined school. KU returns starting combo guard Elijah Johnson and reserve point Naadir Tharpe, who played sparingly as a freshman.
Lyons last season dished 94 assists against 74 turnovers while logging 32 minutes per game for the Musketeers, who reached the Sweet 16. He hit 176 of 414 shots for 42.5 percent. He made 58 of 148 threes for 39.2 percent. He scored in double figures in 29 games with a career-high 27 points against Saint Louis on Jan. 25. Lyons finished his career 28th on Xavier’s all-time scoring (1,194 points).
Lyons, a third-team all-Atlantic 10 pick, told the Arizona Daily Star he is looking forward to proving he’s a true point guard. He played combo guard last year, with Tu Holloway running the point most of the time.
“That’s what I’m going to play my final year,” Lyons told the Daily Star. “Tu Holloway was one of the best in the country so I didn’t get to play it. A lot of people don’t think I can play point guard.”
Parker taps UCLA: Tony Parker, a 6-9 senior forward from Miller Grove High in Lithonia, Ga., on Monday signed a letter-of-intent with UCLA. He chose the Bruins over Duke, Georgia and Ohio State. KU apparently was eliminated prior to Parker’s news conference because a Jayhawk cap was not placed next to those of his other four finalists.
Parker, who is Rivals.com’s No. 27-rated player, first grabbed hats from Georgia and Ohio State before opening his shirt to reveal a UCLA T-shirt.
“I just wanted to go to a place with a winning tradition,” Parker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At UCLA, he’ll be reunited with his former Atlanta Celtics coach, Korey McCray, who is on the UCLA staff.
“Yes sir, I did want to play for Korey,” Parker told the Journal-Constitution. “We’re extremely close. He’s like an older brother to me, and he has been looking out for me for a long time … I really thought if I went to UCLA, Korey could really develop me. He pushes me hard.”
ESPN’s Dave Telep ranks UCLA’s incoming class, which includes No. 1-ranked Shabazz Muhammad and No. 3 Kyle Anderson, No. 1 in the country. Telep said Kentucky would garner the No. 1 class for the fourth-straight year if the Wildcats land No. 7 Anthony Bennett of Findlay Prep High (Henderson, Nev.) this spring.
New name: James Young, a 6-5 junior from Troy, Mich., is considering KU, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan State and others, Rivals.com reports. Young is rated No. 9 in the Class of 2013. He averaged 25 points a game (hitting 12 of 27 threes) during a weekend AAU tournament in Minnesota, which KU coach Bill Self attended.