By LARRY VAUGHT
The way Tom Lyles sees it, destiny brought Kentucky to Indianapolis to play in the NCAA Tournament the same weekend his son, Trey, will be playing for a state championship in downtown Indianapolis also.
“If you look at from day one to now, on day one everybody gave Kentucky a chance to win the national title and by day 45 nobody believed. With us, nobody believed on day one and day 45 everybody believes,” Tom Lyles said. “It was just meant for these two to align. You have got an 8 seed playing in the NCAA Sweet 16 and then you have Arsenal Tech going for a state championship, something that has not been done in 34 years right across the street from Lucas Oil Stadium. Not a car drive, but just a short walk. It was meant to line up that way. Now both programs have to get it done.”
Trey Lyles signed with Kentucky in November. The 6-10 Lyles is averaging 24 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.4 blocked shots per game going into Saturday night’s 4A title game at Bankers LIfe Fieldhouse against Lake Central, a team Tech beat by 19 points in January. He’s made 209 of 353 shots, a 59 percent mark, and is 208 of 281, 74 percent, at the foul line. He’s even hit 22 3-pointers.
Central (22-3) has 6-7 Butler recruit Tyler Wideman (15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds) and 6-5 senior Tyler Ross (8.8 points, 5.5 rebounds). Senior Tye Wilburn (12.3 points, 4.5 assists) ranks as one of state’s best point guards and senior Matt Meneghetti is a 44 percent shooter from 3 for Lake Central.
“We know it is going to be a great game. We are doing our best to prepared. We have to be ready to show up and win, not just show up and play,” Tom Lyles said.
Tom Lyles, a Tech assistant coach, says playing in the same arena where the Indiana Pacers play — and beat Miami Wednesday — doesn’t matter as much to his son and his teammates as a chance to win a state title.
“In four years with the talent we’ve had, we’ve only been here once. They know the struggle to get here,” Tom Lyles said.
That’s why Trey Lyles won’t be at Friday’s UK-Louisville game — and remember he picked UK over Louisville.
“We would love to go, but we will be focused on what we have to do Saturday,” Tom Lyles sad. “I am not saying Kentucky winning is not important to us because it is, but we want that state championship. But we certainly will be watching the game.”
Tickets remain for Saturday’s state title game and Tom Lyles is counting on UK fans in Indianapolis this weekend to be at the game.
“It would be great for UK fans to see us and I will be disappointed in anything less,” Tom Lyles said. “This is one of their own who will be suiting up in a few months in the blue and white to represent them.”