Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Lyons remains a central topic for the Arizona Wildcats and just how good of a team they can become. Some argue Arizona needs a true point guard. I ask, what is a true point guard?
With the commitment of Parker Jackson-Cartwright, I took to the message boards. Not necessarily to comment - in fact most certainly not to comment as I've never seen the kid play beyond YouTube highlights - but to catch the tone of the fan base and capture some additional info on how the experts thought he'd fit in Tucson.
The general consensus was positive as it should be. Any time your program garners five stars of anything - whether it's 6'9" 240 or 5'7" 145 - you're doing something right. Excited indeed. But then some of the commentary took a different turn, heading in a direction I was familiar with but not supportive of - I suppose that's the nature of message boards. "Crisis averted." "From panic mode to harlem shake." "Thank god."
Now maybe I'm looking too far into this. After all, it's commentary from the masses which isn't always Pulitzer inspiring or brilliantly articulated. Or posted with any semblance of perspective and where I find the major offense to this commentary is that it becomes a direct slight at Arizona's current point guard situation.
Mark Lyons, as Arizona's point guard, is 23-4. But I'll continue.
The Xavier transfer is putting up 15 points, 2 boards, and 3 assists per contests which is better than Josiah Turner or Lamont Jones and similar numbers to Nic Wise. He's a more effective offensive player than Mustafa Shakur or any of the other three ever were.
Maybe I'm not comparing him to All-Time greats here and each most certainly left something to be desired. Additionally, what's it even mean to be a true point guard? Did you know that Damon Stoudamire scored 22ppg his senior year? Or that Mike Bibby was the second leading scorer on the 1998 team? What about in 2001-02 when Arizona lost 75% of its scoring from the season prior; how did they account for the offense and manage to score more points per game than a team with four NBA draft picks? Jason Gardner.
Look, Lyons has his limitations; he'll take some bad shots or cough the ball up or do both. But Lyons is the player this team needed and that this program was going to grow with in 2012-13. For my money, there's not another point guard in the Pac-12 I'd want to be leading this group into the forthcoming tournament by which we will ultimately judge Lyons' time as a Wildcat.
He may not be a true point guard, but at this juncture, he's a true Wildcat and a winner. Parker Jackson-Cartwright is going to arrive in Tucson with his own limits and talents and he'll no doubt be a joy to watch and very well could win some pretty special games in Tucson. But today, Arizona needs Mark Lyons because the points aren't going to score themselves. Take the recent team-wide shooting slump as exhibit A. And it came as no surprise that it was Lyons' ten-point run against Washington that helped the Wildcats out of that shooting slump. The assertion that Arizona would be better off without Lyons (yup, I've read it) is absurd; but no need to discuss that. Because again, Lyons is what this team has needed and he's what this team's got.
And that's ok.