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April 24, 2012
Mark Lyons' name has been a popular one on the Internet over the last few days since it came out that the talented guard wouldn't be playing his final season of college basketball with head coach Chris Mack and Xavier.
The decision was made official Monday, but Lyons still has to complete his coursework this year to be eligible to play for any school next season as a graduate transfer. At this point, the 6-foot-1 redshirt junior said that is where his focus is for the time being.
"I'm just trying to finish out school, I can't do anything until I graduate so that's my main focus right now," Lyons said Tuesday afternoon.
Arizona has obvious ties with Lyons as head coach Sean Miller and assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson recruited the former Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy standout to Xavier. Because of that and the Wildcats' need for a point guard, Miller's program has been one of the more talked about possible destinations for Lyons.
"That's definitely been brought to my attention that Arizona needs a point guard," he said. "So I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't enjoy playing for coach Miller, but I still have to graduate and do a lot of other things. So hopefully we can make it happen."
Even though Miller and his staff made the move to Tucson after Lyons joined the Musketeers, the guard said there is no animosity between him and the coaches.
"Coach Miller and Book, I love those guys and they've had faith in me since I was in high school," he said. "They gave me the opportunity to go to Xavier, and I appreciate everything they did for me - so it's a good thing."
Along with the 'Cats, Kansas and Kentucky are among the programs showing early interest for Lyons, who averaged 15.1 points last season for the Musketeers.
"I'm just thinking about three schools right now," he said. "You know I'm going to wait until I graduate and take these visits to see what these schools are about."
UCLA is another program that has expressed interest in bringing the redshirt junior aboard.
One reason Lyons wants to continue his college career despite possibly being able to graduate, is that he still has things he wants to prove he can do. Working alongside Tu Holloway, Lyons has always been more of a scoring threat, but he wants to show that he can do more in his final year at the college level.
"Yeah, definitely just to prove that I can play point guard, and showcase my talent," Lyons said. "There's a few things that I haven't shown on the college level and I definitely want to prove those things.
"I just want to prove that I could lead a team, and have a team winning. I know that I've proven I can score at this level. The next spot I go to I'm looking for less shots and to distribute more and improve my point guard skills."
Lyons said that he's trying to enjoy the remaining time he has at Xavier, but he's happy schools have shown interest in his services.
"This is definitely a great problem to have," he said. "I chose to make my next move and it was away from Xavier, and I know that a lot of people were disappointed in my decision. But I'm just trying to do what's best for myself and my family to get to the next level."
At this point Lyons said a decision could come any time, but he's mostly focusing on graduation before doing anything else.
"I honestly have no idea," he said about a possible decision. "I could make my decision tomorrow or it could be a month from now. I'm trying to focus right now [on graduating], but if I feel there is a place that is right for me I'll definitely jump on it. I'm not going to procrastinate, so once I know what I want to do I'm going to let it out there.
"But as far as right now I have no idea, I'm just trying to focus on one thing."
GOAZCATS.com Senior Recruiting Editor
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