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Tyler Lydon isn’t listening to the noise about his game, or his future

first_imgTyler Lydon accepts that the average basketball fan might not understand what he does. A surface-level expectation for Lydon carrying the burdensome label of “Syracuse’s most talented player,” is to score, and score a lot.That’s OK to a certain extent, but the stalky 20-year-old is capable of so much more. Usually he serves as SU’s best defensive player on the court, stretching every fiber out of his massive wingspan to plug the Orange’s zone defense. He blocks more shots than anyone on the team.Those defensive skills complement an offensive arsenal reliable both behind the arc and at the rim. Even when his shot isn’t falling some nights, he’s no less capable of dominating the other end of the court.Lydon is a do-it-all player, but he can’t do it all at once.“I like to think I can affect the game in other ways than just scoring,” Lydon said before a practice last week. “I’m sure most people don’t really recognize that, because I don’t think the typical basketball fan really sees that.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhat they see are the headlines: Lydon named to All-ACC preseason team. Lydon earns spot on Wooden Award preseason Top 50 list. Lydon projected as late first-round NBA draft pick. Headlines bring hype, and hype brings monumental expectations to carry Syracuse (17-13, 9-8 Atlantic Coast) at all times. Especially through its last gasp for NCAA Tournament consideration.It doesn’t bother Lydon. He’s come to terms with his starring role after last year serving as a supporting cast member to Michael Gbinije, Trevor Cooney and Malachi Richardson. But as the external commotion ramps up — about his future, the Orange’s future and what more he needs to be doing — Lydon descends further into the shielded basketball world he’s created for himself.Only there, usually in the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, can he be the perfectionist and temperamental being that he is. Everywhere else he’s left to block out the noise around him.“Honestly, I don’t even know if he knows about all those watch lists,” said Tim Lydon, Tyler’s father. “He doesn’t look at any of that stuff. He doesn’t read any articles about the team.“… He stays away from it, which I think is good for him.”Unlike many of his teammates, you won’t find Lydon anywhere near Twitter or Snapchat. He logged out of Twitter for the duration of the season, and he deleted Snapchat entirely. Instagram remains his only portal to the social media world, where he posts pictures of his teammates and his puppy, Boone.Otherwise, Lydon stays unplugged. This wasn’t the case last year, and he looks at it as a distraction. Now he’s completely out of sync with the NCAA Tournament projections seemingly updated by the hour. Not once has he glanced at a mock NBA Draft, most of which slot him as the 20th-25th selection in the first round.He doesn’t discuss his NBA prospects with anyone. The family’s inevitable conversation won’t take place until the season’s end, and even last year the discussion about Lydon’s future lasted a “couple minutes” at most.“He wasn’t ready,” Tim said. “Everybody knew that. I don’t think any of us thought he’d be ready to go in there and play with 270-pound forwards.”Lydon prepares for life after Syracuse by working solely toward his next game, a rematch against Georgia Tech that could tilt SU’s NCAA Tournament fate. He routinely starts practice before most of his teammates.Assistant coach Adrian Autry and a few team managers dole out contact on drills to improve his post play, and Lydon shoots upward of 100 3-pointers from different spots around the arc. Whatever the drill, he usually looks like he’s already gone through a full day’s practice before the actual one begins.Jessica Sheldon | Staff PhotographerHe quickly retreats to the locker room to swap out his sweat-drenched shirt for a fresh one and the process commences all over again.“He’s definitely one of those guys that expects to make every shot,” Autry said. “It’s one of those things where his preparation before practice is about that mindset.“You can really tell working with him before practice how focused he is and how intent he is on finishing the drill and finishing at a higher level.”If nothing else, it’s a guarantee Lydon will finish whatever drill he’s working on before practice. Whether or not he’s satisfied with his performance is an entirely different discussion. Like many other athletes of his caliber, Lydon demands an unrealistic quality of play out of himself.When he inevitably can’t reach that ceiling, the sophomore isn’t shy about letting his frustration be known. It could be something subtle, like a grunt when he lets go of a 3-pointer he knows isn’t going in. But more often the display is a little more pyrotechnic.Lydon’s fired balls at the stanchion below the basket, and when he’s really aggravated, he punts basketballs into the highest reaches of the Carrier Dome’s atmosphere — but only during practice. On one attempt, the ball crashed atop the portable bleachers along the sideline and trickled down the steps.Lydon only becomes so demonstrative in what he considers his safe space. There aren’t many of those left for him, so he doesn’t have a problem letting loose when no one’s looking.“For whatever reason,” Lydon said, “I feel like I should be able to do everything the right way. Obviously, that’s not realistic, it’s basketball.“Whenever I miss a shot I know I can make … it gets frustrating. At the same time, I think the funny part is I’ve gotten a lot better with (my temper).”This isn’t the Lydon that most Syracuse fans have come to see. What they see is a polished version, who doesn’t throw temper tantrums or get too low after poor performances. But don’t confuse his stoicism for lack of caring.Lydon knows how much he means as an individual to the program and fan base. Without him, there’s probably no NCAA Tournament run to hope for or NBA Draft that will be worth watching this year for SU fans. But Lydon needs to tune out the constant chatter about Syracuse, which is usually centered around him anyway.It’s the only way he can try to do it all.“There’s a lot of expectations that can be hard to uphold and follow through with,” Lydon said, “but I like those challenges. I like being someone that’s responsible for all that.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 2, 2017 at 2:38 am Contact Connor: cgrossma@syr.edu | @connorgrossmanlast_img read more

Softball Sweeps Bradley with 6-3 Win Saturday

first_imgThe Bulldogs were led at the plate by Taryn Pena (Columbia, Ill.) and Mandi Roemmich (West Des Moines, Iowa), who each went 2-for-3. Pena drove in one run and scored one run while Roemmich scored twice. Sarah Maddox (Henderson, Nev.) had a pair of RBIs and one stolen base. Next Game: Preview at Southern Illinois 4/7/2018 – 2 PM PDF Box Score Later, Drake added three key insurance runs, with two in the fifth inning and one in the sixth. In the fifth, Pena hit a single to left field with Macy Johnson (Winterset, Iowa) on second after a one-out infield hit and stolen base. The Bradley left fielder bobbled the ball in the corner as it allowed the speedy Johnson to score and Pena to move to second. Two batters later, Maddox drove in pinch runner, Libby Ryan (Mount Vernon, Iowa), with a fielder’s choice. The Bulldogs sixth and final run came in the sixth inning after four-straight, two-out walks, as Pena drew hers with the bases loaded as Roemmich scored. Following Saturday’s game, Drake travels to Iowa State April 4 for a 4 p.m. in-state game. The Bulldogs return to Buel Field to host SIU, April 6-7, in MVC action. Print Friendly Version Live Stats Pitcher Nicole Newman (Madison, Wis.) tossed five scoreless innings as she allowed just one hit with nine strikeouts. Newman, who with the win improved to 11-2 on the season, moved to third all-time at Drake in career strikeouts with an impressive 677. She is just three away from tying Brynne Dordel (2008-11) at 680 for number two. Jenna DeLong (2008-11) has the top mark with 760. DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University softball team had a successful first weekend at Buel Field with another series sweep in Missouri Valley Conference play. Drake (25-9, 8-0 MVC) won its 11th-consecutive game with a 6-3 victory over Bradley (13-16, 2-5 MVC) Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 3-0 in the third inning. Tasha Alexander (Eddyville, Iowa) started the inning with a bunt single, Roemmich followed with a single as Alexander moved all way to third and then Kennedy Frank (Chesterfield, Mo.) hit a sacrifice fly to score Alexander. Johnson then dropped a sacrifice bunt attempt that was thrown away by the Braves pitcher as Roemmich came all the way around from first for the final run of the inning. Bradley scored two runs in the sixth inning with a two-run home run by MVC home run leader, Allison Apke, and one run in the seventh. Alexander misplayed a ball in centerfield that allowed one run with runners on but reliever Smith settled in and got the final out. Smith pitched two innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with one walk. Full Schedule Roster Story Links Maddox drove home Pena for the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second inning. Pena led off the frame with a double to the wall in left center and then moved over to third base on Kailee Smith’s (Murrieta, Calif.) grounder to first base.last_img read more