Originally posted on In The Neutral Zone  |  Last updated 3/18/14
A 4-Star shooting guard who can play either guard position, and do a little bit of everything, JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, IN/Huntington Prep) is one of only three Top 50 prospects who remain uncommitted. On Wednesday afternoon, that number will be reduced to two, as Lyle is set to pick between his three finalists: Memphis, Oklahoma State and Oregon. Here is how the addition of Lyle would impact each of his finalists: Memphis Tigers Currently ranked No. 42 in the country, Josh Pastner’s 2014 recruiting class is about quantity over quality, as the Tigers have a Top 100 point guard and a trio of JuCo wings on the way. The No. 75 prospect in the TCT Top 250, PG Dominic MaGee (Harvey, LA/Helen Cox HS) is the headliner. MaGee is an ultra-quick lead guard with a tight handle and the ability to keep defenders honest with his jumper. The possibility of playing with MaGee should be a major attraction for Lyle, as MaGee’s strengths will help fortify Lyle’s most significant weaknesses. The graduation of Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, Geron Johnson and Michael Dixon Jr. will create a major void in the Tigers’ backcourt, allowing MaGee and Lyle to enter the season in the starting five. Memphis is chock full of high-impact, high-upside bigs, such as: junior Shaq Goodwin, and sophomores Austin Nichols, Nick King, and Kuran Iverson, but the team won’t return a single guard who averaged more than eight minutes this season. Oklahoma State Cowboys With stars Marcus Smart and Markel Brown on their way out of Stillwater and the possibility that Le’Bryan Nash will declare for the NBA Draft, Travis Ford’s staff is looking for a game-changing guard to take the reigns. Lyle could be that guy. He’s not the next-level athlete that Smart is, but Lyle will be an effective scorer with the potential to develop into a capable on-ball defender. You can bet that Ford is telling Lyle he will fill Smart’s role as a combo guard who handles the rock, serves as the primary scoring option, and uses size and strength to make plays all over the floor. Slotted at No. 27 in the country, Oklahoma State’s incoming class is a four-man group that provides versatility, scoring and length. SG Jared Terrell (Wolfeboro, NH/Brewster Academy), SF Joe Burton (Houston, TX/Atascocita HS), and C Mitch Solomon (Bixby, OK/Bixby HS) are all ranked inside the Top 150 prospects in the TCT Top 250, while Junior College PG Jeff Newberry will provide depth at the 1. A scoring guard who can put the ball on the floor and make plays at the rim, Terrell would be the perfect complement to the versatility and ever-expanding offensive arsenal of Lyle. Oregon Ducks Oregon’s 2014 recruiting class is absolutely loaded with depth, and a commitment from Lyle would give the Ducks a future star to build around. A 7-seed in the NCAA Tournament, Oregon has been led by a roster full of transfers this season, and has six players graduating at the end of the season. Dana Altman is bringing in three high school prospects and two JuCo transfers to fill the gaps, with two bigs, a guard and a wing in the Ducks’ 2014 recruiting class. With three prospects ranked in the TCT Top 250, and a pair of JuCo transfers poised to make an instant impact, Oregon has a cornerstone recruiting class coming in. The addition of Lyle would be an excellent cherry on top of a talented crop, yet it’s tough to see how he fits in the Oregon offense. Memphis and Oklahoma State can offer Lyle the opportunity to be a major contributor from day one, yet at Oregon he would join a crowded backcourt that includes PG Dominic Artis and 2-guards Joseph Young, and Damyean Dotson. College Prediction Lyle’s recruitment has been all over the place. After originally committing to Louisville, Lyle was rumored to be a Kansas lean before ultimately cutting the Jayhawks from his list. Honestly, I think Oregon has no shot at landing him. He just doesn’t fit with the Ducks’ existing roster. Lyle is looking for immediate playing time and a major role on a competitive team, but he would be forced to share the floor with ball dominant guards and become the team’s third, or fourth scoring option at times. With Phil Forte and Kamari Murphy returning, as well as Jared Terrell and Joe Burton coming in, Oklahoma State is a great option for Lyle, but I see him landing at Memphis. OK State has the framework of a competitive team next season, but losing Smart, Brown and possibly Nash would be too much to overcome. The Cowboys will likely be in rebuilding mode for the next season or two, and have the potential to be a Top 25 team by Lyle’s junior year. Louisville’s exit from the American Athletic Conference means that Memphis will be the team to beat next season. The Tigers are one piece away from being special, and the inclusion of Lyle would give Josh Pastner a starting five of MaGee, Lyle, Nick King, Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols. That core has final four written all over it, and could help the Tigers become the national powerhouse they were under John Calipari (minus the NCAA sanctions). 3 total views, 3 views today
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