State Colleges

He’s just 5-foot-8, but this UM basketball recruit is ‘a human highlight reel’

McDonald’s All-American Chris Lykes, a 5-8, 160-pound point guard from the Washington, D.C., area, will arrive on the Miami campus this fall.
McDonald’s All-American Chris Lykes, a 5-8, 160-pound point guard from the Washington, D.C., area, will arrive on the Miami campus this fall. Washington Post File

Here’s guessing Miami Hurricanes fans will really like Lykes.

Chris Lykes, a 5-8, 160-pound point guard from the Washington, D.C., area, will arrive on the Miami campus this fall not as a McDonald’s All-American but as a star in his own right.

In an interview with the Herald, his high school coach laughed when asked what Canes fans can expect from Lykes next season.

“He’s a human-highlight reel,” said Steve Turner, who coaches Gonzaga Prep. “He’s a first-class kid who will represent the program to the fullest.

“But when people first see him, because of his height, they will probably say, ‘What are we doing here?’ 

What the Canes are doing is bringing in a kid who was named Washington, D.C.’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. He also won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year honor, playing in one of the nation’s toughest leagues.

Lykes shot 47.3 percent on three-pointers and averaged 22.0 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 steals last season. This season, the ultra-quick guard is averaging 20 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

One look at his YouTube highlights and fans might start thinking that Lykes could be the Canes’ most exciting prospect — in terms of sheer entertainment value — in at least a decade.

But public opinion hasn’t always been on his side.

“Freshman year, my first high school game, I came in off the bench,” Lykes said. “I could see people laughing and confused.”

They’re not laughing now.

He scored 19 points in that first game, competing against Melo Trimble, now a star point guard at the University of Maryland.

Lykes, who has a 3.28 grade-point average, is interested in studying mechanical engineering.

“I like building things,” Lykes said.

That makes him a perfect fit at Miami, where coach Jim Larrañaga has been killing it on the recruiting trail, building the Canes into a respected program.

Lykes said the Canes were the first “high-major” program to recruit him.

“They told me how I fit into their offense with the amount of ball screens they use,” Lykes said. “They gave me tips on my game, which I really appreciate because I want to get better.”

Lykes signed with Miami in November, and he can barely wait to get to campus.

“My parents are happy for me,” Lykes said. “But they’re jealous that I’m going to go where it’s not so cold.”

THIS AND THAT

▪ Miami has already added a new player in 6-9, 205-pound freshman forward Sam Waardenburg, a native of New Zealand. He is with the team for this semester but won’t be eligible to play until next season.

▪ ASA Miami, a relatively new junior college program that sent standout kicker Eddy Pineiro to Florida (and likely soon to the NFL), has done it again. ASA defensive lineman Shamar Hamilton signed last week with the University of Colorado.

▪ Barry’s women’s basketball team recently served food at the Miami Rescue Mission, which helps the homeless and the needy.

▪ FIU’s men’s basketball team hosted 21 children, ages 5 to 12, from the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind.

▪ When North Carolina State’s men’s basketball team played at Miami on Dec. 31 there were two Wolfpack players with local ties, Maverick Rowan and Chris Corchiani Jr.

Rowan, a 6-7 sophomore wing from Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, is fourth on the team in scoring (11.8).

Corchiani, a walk-on junior who rarely plays, is the son of former Hialeah-Miami Lakes High and N.C. State star Chris Corchiani.

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