Trey Lyles was once committed to his hometown Indiana Hoosiers but later soured on whatever craziness Tom Crean is trying to sell and dropped them like a bad habit. It then came down to either the Louisville Cardinals or the Kentucky Wildcats for the uber-talented five-star forward. But Lyles had bigger aspirations than wasting his freshman year on the bench under Pitino, so Lyles opted for the Wildcats.
What ensued at Kentucky was one of the more interesting freshmen seasons a player has recently had at Kentucky. First, Lyles was on the second platoon until Alex Poythress injured his knee. He was then promoted to the first platoon. Then, he missed a number of games mid-season due to undisclosed illness that prompted questions and rumors. It even started a #WheresTrey twitter campaign.
Eventually, Lyles become healthy and was back on the team full time. He flashed moments of brilliance and his talent wowed us, particularly against Louisville when he was sinking mid-range jumpers all over the Cardinal defenders. And yet there is something unfulfilled about his time at Kentucky. There's this prevailing feeling that there is a lot more to him.
Important Stats at Kentucky:
Points Per Game (2014-2015)- 8.7
Rebounds Per Game (2014-2015)- 5.2
Blocks Per Game (2014-2015)- 0.4
NBA Draft Combine Measurables:
Draftexpress.com- #13 Overall to the Phoenix Suns
Yahoo Sports- #13 Overall to the Phoenix Suns
NBA.com- #14 Overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder
Strengths: Trey Lyles is a multi-faceted offensive player. He can play inside/out with is and has a silky smooth jump shot to compliment a very nice post game. NBA purists bemoan the lost art of the mid-range jumper: Trey Lyles has it and has the ability to master it. He is extremely fundamentally sound around the rim and he was almost impossible for most forwards he faced to guard. He played the small forward position mostly at Kentucky, adding skills that he didn't previously possess.
What Needs Work: Lyles has the size to play power forward in the NBA, but does he have the strength to do it? While he is a good sized young man, his post moves aren't overpowering. He is much more of a finesse player and he reminds me a lot of Tim Duncan (not that that's a bad thing). He needs to work on his lateral quickness and his redounding as well.
Final Analysis: Out of all of the players on the team, I think the platoon hurt Trey Lyles the most. Sure, he was a starter and he got his minutes, but I don't think John Calipari got the best out of Trey Lyles, and that's no fault of Trey's. Lyles has top ten talent and skill. If he had played 30-35 minutes per game, there is no telling how high he would have gone. I am a big fan of his game and I think whatever team gets him, especially a team like OKC, is going to be extremely pleased with their pick.