By LARRY VAUGHT
PADUCAH — Kentucky signee Trey Lyles of Indianapolis Arsenal Tech had 11 straight double-doubles this season going into Saturday night’s game in the Mustang Madness at McCracken County High School.
For his step-mother, Jasenka Lyles, a native of Croatia, it has been fun to watch and she’s usually keeping a scorebook during the game while her husband, Tom, is on the bench as an Arsenal assistant coach.
She shared these thoughts on her son and his play.
Question: How excited are you to have Trey coming to Kentucky to play?
Lyles: “Very excited. First of all, whatever school he would have chosen we were behind him 100 percent. He feels this is the best fit for him and we support him. We are just so glad that he made his decision and he can concentrate on his high school season and get that over and done with. We are happy for him plus it is close to home.”
Question: Other than he is a gifted athlete, what do you hope Kentucky fans also know about your son?
Lyles: “Trey is I would say not the average teenager. He has 4.0 grades. He knows grades are very, very important. He gives us no problem whatsoever. He loves kids. He is a great role model. He is great role model, a great son. He is just great. He really has not done anything ever for us to question him. He has great character. He knows his responsibilities. He is just great.”
Question: How much does he enjoy just being with his teammates and friends?
Lyles: “With Trey, he is very committed and when he commits himself to something, which he did to this team. Everyone knows he had many chances to go to private schools. He could have gone anywhere. He decided he wanted to stay. He loves his teammates. It’s his family. They are not just teammates and friends, but we are a family. He is like that at home. He loves to spend time with us. He is not one of these kids out partying, hanging out doing something. He hangs out at home. He has a few very close friends. He is a great kid. We did it right. We did it good with him.”
Question: What is it like on game day with you keeping the scorebook and your husband, Tom, on the bench as an assistant coach and Trey playing?
Lyles: “I keep our school stats. Tom coaches. It is exciting. We of course want them to always win. Most of all we want them to play together as a team. They have each others’ backs. I have been the team mom ever since he has been playing, even through high school. AAU days, everything. I have boxes and boxes of stats. We have always been very involved in Trey’s basketball and education. We are a very close-knit family. Tom has been his only trainer. He is assistant coach. We are all very well connected.”
Question: If I didn’t know Tom was Trey’s dad, would I be able to tell it from watching a game?
Lyles: “You would not be able to tell. There is a lot of respect there. Once Trey steps on the court, he is a player. Once Tom gets on the bench, he is a coach. It is not dad. It is coach. If you watch or listen to Trey, he answers every one of them with either, ‘Yes sir or Coach.’ You will not ever hear him say Dad. It is really is a coach-player relationship once it starts.”