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April 14, 2014
Lyles sees himself as versatile fit in UK system
Kentucky Signee Features: Karl Towns | Tyler Ulis | Devin Booker
CHICAGO -- Devin Booker is thought to be the shooter, Tyler Ulis the pesky point guard and Karl Towns the lovable, versatile big man.
The roles for three of Kentucky's four Class of 2014 seem set, but Trey Lyles is the wildcard.
But as he prepared for McDonald's All-American Game, the 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward made his role seem simple.
"Just to rebound and score," Lyles said. "Just be a good leader and teammate because that's what coach wants from us is just to be a good leader to play for one another and don't be selfish."
And Lyles did just that in this year's McDonald's game, finishing with a team-high eight rebounds to go with eight points.
If Lyles is the unsung hero next season, he's fine. Winning is important to Lyles, which is why winning a state championship this month meant so much to him.
Lyles was last to join his teammates in Chicago for McDonald's festivities, but future teammates Booker and Ulis -- who like Lyles were on the West team -- helped him make up for lost time on the court.
"We get a feel for each other on the court," Lyles said. "Three of us are on the same team so we get to find what we like to do and where we like to get the ball and stuff like that. Just being able to play together, and a fellowship off the court is great for us."
He suffered a cut over his left eye in a McDonald's practice. He sported a big band aid while giving interviews but called the cut "nothing."
Cuts looked like an accessory on the Indianapolis Arsenal Tech product during his final high school basketball season. He averaged jut under 24 points and over 12 rebounds per game.
Lyles didn't bring up his shot-blocking ability but he averaged 2.3 blocks per game, along with 3.6 assists.
At McDonald's practice, Lyles showcased his passing ability. No matter if he caught the ball in the post or on the perimeter, his first move was to look for cutters or open players.
Lyles was vocal, talking to his West teammates during drills and also during breaks. He hopes to bring that leadership to Lexington.
The Cats will feature a predominantly young team yet again next season, and leadership is always questioned.
Lyles isn't concerned.
"I think we're mature enough now, we've played enough basketball now to know what we need to do," Lyles said. "There's going to be guys that have played a while on the team still but they're still going to be young, but if we just go out there play hard and compete every second of the game the leadership will come from the coach or the leadership will come to us as a unit if we play together."
And the leadership could directly come from the front court. The Cats will feature Lyles and Towns, and possibly more height depending on who comes back.
Even if it's just Towns and Lyles, the Indianapolis native is confident playing alongside his fellow All-American.
"We complement each other well because we both can play inside out," Lyles said. "He's a shot blocker and rebounder, I'm a rebounder. So us being able to go out on the court together is going to be hard for other teams because we have two dominant bigs that can play."