Many people see plenty of benefits to the new NCAA eligibility rule that allows players who declare for the NBA Draft to return to school if they pull their name from the draft and don’t give up their amateur status and sign with an agent.
Tyler Lydon, however, is not one of those people.
The former Syracuse basketball forward recently sat down with Syracuse.com’s Donna Ditota to discuss a number of topics. The most interesting, however, is Lydon explaining his decision to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft and immediately sign with an agent, forgoing his two years of eligibility.
Lydon came under heavy scrutiny from fans who believed the projected first round pick should have at least waited until after the NBA Combine, where he will receive feedback from NBA scouts and executives on his play and potential draft status, to make a final decision.
Ironically, it was that potential feedback that discouraged Lydon from testing the waters and not fully committing himself to the NBA Draft, he told Ditota:
Testing the waters can be beneficial for guys, but for me, I didn't really see the benefit in doing that because say I tested the waters and came back and got all this feedback from the NBA. I was scared that I was going to become a player that wasn't true to myself, that I was going to try to show all these skills or whatever they wanted to see. So for those reasons, I was either in or I was out. I just felt like there was no in-between. It was either I was ready or I wasn't.
While critics will say Lydon could have used that constructive criticism to simply improve his game, rather than completely alter it. Lydon’s point remains a fair one, as it would be difficult for a player to succeed if he isn’t comfortable with his style of play.
After a promising freshman season, Lydon didn’t make the significant leap in play many expected him to, averaging 13.2 points on 47.3% shooting from the field and 39.5% from behind the arc. He also averaged 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks.
Lydon, who told Ditota he truly feels both mentally and physically ready for the rigors of the NBA, could also know something we don’t in terms of his projected draft status. After falling out of the first round entirely in some mock drafts back in early April, Lydon shot up draft boards in recent weeks, even being taken as early as No. 13 by the Denver Nuggets in CBS Sports’ latest mock draft.
Of course, Lydon was also considered a potential first round pick last year, but decided to return to Syracuse. Surprisingly this was a decision he made rather easily, telling Ditota “at no point last year” did he ever seriously consider leaving for the NBA.
One year later, however, Lydon’s now all-in.
You can read Lydon’s full sit-down with Ditota here. In addition to Lydon’s decision to declare for the NBA Draft, the two also discuss his pre-NBA Combine workouts, what he’s done since leaving Syracuse, potential questions he’ll be asked by NBA executives and more.