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Young New Blue Blood: Trey Lyles

Year with the Cats

It was the 2014-15 season for the University of Kentucky. The team made a historic run of 38 straight victories that fell short with a loss against Wisconsin. The beginning of this legendary season was the result of the players making a pact to return as they wanted another chance at winning the title. Coach John Calipari and his staff also added some young new blue blood to the roster. These would include Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyler Ulis, and Trey Lyles.  KAT, Lyles, and Booker were drafted 1st, 12th, and 13th respectively.  Consequently, this is no surprise as Cal has been pumping young new blue blood into the NBA each year.

One of those young new blue bloods, Lyles standing at 6’9’’ and weighing in at 234 lbs., would be drafted by the Utah Jazz.  As a Wildcat, Lyles averaged 8.7 ppg, 5.2 rebs, 1.1 ast. Coach Cal used a platoon system this year because he wanted to keep his guys fresh. This resulted in their minutes being low which is why his numbers were low.

Draft Decisions

Following this season, decisions had to be made whether or not to enter into the NBA Draft.  Henceforth, Lyles and six others decided to give the NBA a shot. The players’ agents set up autograph sessions in various locations in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Since these were scheduled, fans came out to meet the players, take pictures with them, and have posters or various other memorabilia signed. 

This was the first year that I was aware that the players declaring for the draft did this. Since knowing this, I wanted each of the seven players’ autographs so my daughter and I travelled to those various locations to meet them.  One of those locations was a restaurant named Barleycorn’s in Cold Spring, KY, which is 2 hours and 35 minutes’ drive from where I live. What can I say? I love the Cats.  It was at this location that she and I met Dakari Johnson and Trey Lyles.

Early Years

Before this, let’s rewind a few years back. Trey Lyles was born on November 5th, 1995 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada to Thomas and Jasenka Lyles.  Saskatchewan is the providence above parts of Montana and North Dakota. He has three siblings Kyle, Kristina, and Tanika, who is running track at Indiana St.

As a kid, Lyles chose basketball instead of hockey while growing up in Canada.  His father was his coach and they worked on basketball several times a day. This didn’t include his father’s highly intense strength and conditioning regimen.  They would even practice at night time with the use of the headlights of their vehicle.

Before high school, the family moved from Canada to Indianapolis, Indiana because Lyles’ father was in the entertainment business. Lyles played high school basketball at Arsenal Tech High. The basketball program wasn’t a powerhouse at his school, but Lyles would help them win the state title his senior season.  Lyles recorded 23.7 ppg, 12.9 rebs, and 3.5 ast. and won the title of Mr. Indiana. While in his freshman year he committed to Indiana but would decommit after being highly recruited by UK and Louisville.  As you already know, he chose UK. 

NBA Years

Upon being drafted, Lyles was headed to the land of the Jazz. He would play in from 2015-2017. One of his top performances came against the Nuggets in which he dropped down 22 points. During the offseason, the Jazz traded Lyles to the Nuggets. He played there from 2017-2019. During those years, Lyles topped his 22 point career-high with a 25 point game against the Pacers and then broke it again with a 26 point game against his former Jazz team. While he struggled a little in Denver, the Nuggets decided to release Lyles and he would find a new home with the San Antonio Spurs.  He signed with the organization on July 12, 2019.

In recent times Lyles has worked his way into a starting position a couple of times since joining the Spurs.  With his big frame, he is able to pull down rebounds. As he continues to work on gelling with his new teammates, Lyles will become a vital role player for the Spurs. Much of his success was from learning during his early days working with his father, sometimes even into the night. This work led to his championship in Indiana. Lyles had progressed into a good player. Additionally, a year at UK under HOF Coach Cal, Lyles’ work ethic was further instilled, which will help HOF Coach Pop and the Spurs do the little things to be successful.


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