Chris Lykes, a 5-8 senior point guard from Gonzaga Prep in Washington, D.C., couldn’t miss during last month’s Junior Orange Bowl championship final, and that performance might have punched his ticket to a career with the Miami Hurricanes.
Lykes, who was named the tournament’s MVP, scored 30 points in an 82-49 win over Miami High. He took nine shots and made them all, including seven from three-point range. He outperformed Miami High’s 7-1 center Zach Brown, even though there is a 17-inch height difference.
Gonzaga coach Steve Turner said Canes coach Jim Larrañaga was at two Junior OB games, including the final, to watch Lykes.
“Coach L has shown that he likes small, quick point guards,” said Turner, mentioning Shane Larkin, who is now in the NBA, and current starter Angel Rodriguez. “Coach L made it clear he was coming after Chris.”
With Rodriguez departing Miami after this season, Larrañaga has mentioned he’s looking for a true point guard who can share backcourt duties next season with Ja’Quan Newton, a sophomore who has emerged as a scoring threat, especially in the lane.
Lykes has been a star since his freshman season, when he led Gonzaga in scoring (14.9). Even so, until recently, only mid-major colleges were offering him scholarships — schools such as George Mason, George Washington and Virginia Commonwealth.
But Turner said the Canes have now offered a scholarship, and schools such as Notre Dame, Maryland, Syracuse and West Virginia are interested.
Gonzaga plays in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, which has four teams ranked among the nation’s top-25 teams in different polls.
“We are arguably the best conference in the nation,” Turner said of the league Gonzaga won in 2015.
Lykes is on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer, which is impressive considering that his teammate last season was guard Bryant Crawford, the DC Gatorade Player of the Year who now plays for Wake Forest.
Among the top 100 high school prospects in the nation — as rated by Baseball America — the Miami Hurricanes have commitments from four players.
That includes three players from South Florida: No. 13 Jesus Luzardo, a left-hander from Douglas; No. 68 Mike Amditis, a catcher from Boca Raton Community; and No. 90 Greg Veliz, a right-hander/third baseman from North Broward Prep. The fourth player is 20th-ranked Luis Curbelo, a shortstop from Cocoa.
The ony top-100 South Floridian not committed to Miami is South Dade’s Alek Manoah, who is a 6-6, 245-pound right-hander. He is ranked No. 78.
▪ Former Miami High standout Amanda Mendoza has emerged as a Division I starting point guard at Troy. Mendoza, a 5-3 sophomore, leads her team in assists and is fourth in scoring. At Miami High, she helped the Stings win a state title in 2014. She was also the MVP of the 2013 final four, even though the Stings finished second that season.