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College transfers: The sound swap of Josiah Turner and Mark Lyons

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Defection in college basketball isn't a rare thing these days.

The Arizona Wildcats can tell you that from the end of the Lute Olson era until today nothing has been normal, but the national trend has been catching up with the UA program.

The Daily's Dan Wolken wrote on Monday that college basketball recruiting is about the now rather than the then.

It's a two-way street. Coaches recruit players that will be immediate impacts, knowing they could jump to the NBA. And if they aren't immediate impacts, players like former Wildcats and current Colorado State guard Daniel Bejarano might seek out school where they can, well, play.

"You can't tell a kid, ‘We're looking at you to be a role guy for us,' " said one assistant coach to Wolken. "Look, you can only play five on the floor at one time. So you have to present things in a certain way maybe knowing in your heart and your head that isn't an accurate portrayal of where the kid fits in your program."

So is it on the coaches or the players?

At Arizona, away goes Josiah Turner to play for Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown at SMU, and in comes Xavier Musketeers transfer Mark Lyons. Sean Miller has dealt with unneeded change in the swapping of Turner, a sophomore-to-be, and the incoming senior, Lyons, but it might work out for both parties.

[RELATED: SEC transfer rule hurt Lyons' chances at landing with Kentucky Wildcats]

Last season, Turner's play couldn't be described as anything but floating.

For stretches, his pure speed in passing lanes and wit in rare pick-and-roll situations flashed brilliance, the kind that set him among the Tony Wrotens and Marquis Teagues in his recruiting class. But most of the time it was that floating -- the passive, nonchalant attitude, his emotions not flaring after a missed bucket or lousy defense but rather when an opposing player got under his skin.

Now off to play for Brown, an intense and disciplined head coach, Turner will get the opportunity to be called out for his flaws by one of the college and pro games' greatest leaders and then change his ways. Or he'll see the end of a once-promising career.

Meanwhile, Miller brought in Lyons, who left Xavier and coach Chris Mack along with some interesting comments from his former head coach.

[RELATED: Mark Lyons is a risk with potential reward]

Yet, this could work out for Arizona. Miller knows Lyons from his Xavier days, and the Schenectady, New York, native is likely familiar with Kevin Parrom, who was committed to Xavier while Lyons was a freshman.

That should go a long way in quickly submitting Lyons to the culture during his one season in Tucson. He'll be told when he's out of line if he ever is, and theoretically, his respect and familiarity with Miller and Parrom will keep out any potential for any locker room stuffiness.

Disregarding Turner's decision to leave UA, why is a one-year stint from a senior better than Turner?

After Miller talked about the risks and difficulty of recruiting the right players at yesterday's press conference in Tucson -- the first in 62 days, apparently -- the Arizona coach said one thing about Lyons that stood out among the rest of his comments from Bruce Pascoe's article.

"He's one of the most competitive kids that I've been around and I look forward to him sharing that senior mantle with Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill."

And that, right there, is what Arizona might've been missing last season.

Competitiveness. Turner was bad at showing it.

Leadership. It's hard to think Turner would've developed that in a year.

The swap of the two point guards gives Arizona what it lacked, all the while reducing any risk of Lyons' infecting the team (Miller said a starting spot won't be handed to him, by the way) to only a year. And that's only if Miller can't tame his old recruit, something he must believe is possible considering his cautionary words about his past failures in yesterday's presser.

Myron Medcalf and Eamonn Brennan of ESPN's college basketball blog talked both the Turner and Lyons situations on Monday, and their guesses to how each will fair is as good as ours.

"Definitely a wait-and-see situation (with Lyons) in Tucson," Medcalf writes. "But this is his last shot. Maybe he needs a change of scenery, but his attitude will influence those youngsters. So Miller needs Lyons to get his mind right. Arizona could reach the Final Four or it could implode again if the chemistry is jacked up."

Yep. It's back to the question.

Whose fault is it? Should it be on Sean Miller for recruiting a bad apple? Josiah Turner for being the bad apple?

Or is it simply the way of the world, the way college basketball works that has put Arizona in a situation of swapping point guard for point guard?

Maybe it's the latter. Times have changed. Perhaps Miller sees college basketball as a one-year-at-a-time process.

And he could be right.