A preseason No. 1 ranking apparently wasn’t enough to keep Trey Lyles faithful to his Indiana commitment.
The highly skilled power forward in the class of 2014 rescinded his commitment to Tom Crean and the Hoosiers on Monday, opening up a recruitment that figures to last quite a bit longer this second go-around.
Lyles initially committed to nearby IU in September 2010—prior to his freshman high school basketball season—thanks mostly to the school’s close proximity to home. Bloomington, IN is just 45 minutes away from Lyles’ native Indianapolis.
At the time it was made, Lyles’ early verbal surprised a number of people engaged in the recruiting process given the prospect’s fast-rising stock. Now, after reneging on his pledge, Lyles can fully go through the process he all but circumvented as a budding teen.
A 6-foot-9 power forward, Lyles says Indiana sits atop his reopened list. I’m told by one recruiting insider, however, that such talk is more diplomatic than honest.
Kentucky, Syracuse and Illinois, according to sources, are all hot on the trail after the Indy hotshot. North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Duke and Georgetown are said to be actively involved as well.
The timing of this de-commitment is awfully odd, perhaps even suggestive of foul activity going on in the recruiting underworld. IU is a first-class program on the up-and-up, nearing its highest point since 2002, when the Hoosiers made an improbable run to the championship game of the NCAA tournament.
Why bow out of such a promising situation? One recruiting source I spoke to has a few ideas.
“With 2013 guys like Parker and Randle and Walker and the Harrisons getting so much attention with their recruitments,” the source said. “Lyles probably feels cheated since his recruitment was without all the fanfare and visibility he thinks it deserves.”
In this new era of the social media recruit, one in which certain recruiting decisions are aired live on ESPNU Signing Day specials, Lyles likely regretted passing on a free ticket to unfettered exposure.
Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel certainly didn’t pass up the spotlight during their recruitments. Ignoring just how terribly awkward and disingenuous his official announcement was—using “Skype” and Coach Roy Williams as props—Barnes’ gauche self-promotion helped catapult his brand by leaps and bounds. Noel, who creatively carved out the UK symbol in the back of his flat-top to reveal his college choice, has benefited similarly from the exposure.