Chris Lykes entered the third leg of the 2016 Nike EYBL Circuit as one of the Mid-Season MVP candidates according to D1Circuit.com. The 5’7” point guard averaged 18.4 points, 2.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game for Team Takeover through the first two sessions, which took place in Brooklyn and Indianapolis, respectively. Lykes, a rising senior, kept the stellar performances coming this past weekend in Hampton, Virginia.
The Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) star struggled from the field on Friday night and finished with 11 points in a 2-point loss to We All Can Go (TN), but he was instrumental in Team Takeover’s 64-50 win over Seattle Rotary on Saturday morning, coming up with steals on the defensive end while scoring 15 points and calmly running the team on offense. Lykes poured in 24 points in a loss to CIA Bounce on Saturday night and scored 21 points in a loss to Houston Hoops Sunday morning.
After following Lykes in two of the four games this past weekend, it’s easy to see why he has drawn high-major scholarship offers. From beyond the arc to driving layups to mid-range jumpers, he can put the ball in the basket. If a defender comes out to defend against the 3, he has the quickness to go by them and can get to the rim, creating a layup for himself or his teammates.
Lykes makes up for his lack of height with toughness, strength, and impressive leaping ability. For example, on one occasion he was guarding a player who was 6’4” or 6’5”. The opponent tried to back him down, but Lykes held him at bay and forced him into a turnaround from about 8-10 feet out. Lykes then used his jumping ability to get a hand right in the face. The opponent knocked down the shot… but it was a tough shot and well defended.
Coaches of the schools that have offered “like my ability to get to where I want to on the floor, my defensive attributes, my speed, and my ability to score the ball as well as set up my teammates,” Lykes said.
“When the coaches talk to me, I can tell if a coach offers me then size is not going to be a factor,” Lykes added. “The size is not necessarily a defect. It can be used as an advantage, too.”
So where will the talented prospect take his talents? He hopes to make his college choice before the start of his senior season, so look for him to sign in November. Lykes has visited some schools unofficially so far. He’ll begin making official visits next month.
“I have Miami June 3-5 – that’s an official visit — and then I have, I think, Villanova the weekend after,” said Lykes, who confirmed that Villanova will be an official as well. “The other visits aren’t officially set but I know I’m going to go on them.”
Does Miami and Villanova being the first scheduled official visits mean that they are the favorites?
“Not really. Not really, but those are two high-major schools. They are great programs, so I’m really looking at those two,” Lykes said.
Asked what other schools he wants to visit, Lykes answered: “NC State, Virginia, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Stanford.”
Lykes attended Virginia’s Elite Camp last summer, but with only one scholarship available to offer in 2017 Tony Bennett and company have been selective about who to offer. The reigning WCAC Player of the Year got the call from coach Bennett last month.
“[Cavalier assistant coach Jason] Williford has been to a lot of my games. He has come to a lot of my practices. They’ve always been around. They just finally offered me. They just wanted to make sure I would fit in their offense,” said Lykes, who went on to say that UVA is “a defensive minded team. It’s just a great campus and close to home, too.”
Lykes was asked if UVA’s style of play suits him.
“A lot of outside influences tell me that’s not a place I should go to because they are slow, but coach Tony Bennett has told me that everything can’t be up-tempo. You have to slow it down at some point,” Lykes replied.
Is pace a concern for Lykes with respect to UVA?
“I’m pretty sure coach Tony Bennett will adjust to the type of caliber players he has once they get there. I’m more of an up-tempo style of play, but I can slow it down and run the half court offense, too,” Lykes said.
The Miami and Villanova visits are concerning. Lykes reminds me of former Miami point guard Angel Rodriguez, and Villanova is obviously coming off a national championship and has a good track record of attracting and developing quality guards. UVA has to hope Lykes does indeed take more visits and that one of those visits is to Charlottesville. I think UVA does have a legit chance here, but again we’ll see what happens the first part of June.