Miami Hurricanes Point Guard Chris Lykes Powers Team Despite Standing 5-Feet-7-Inches Tall
By Chris Bonanno // November 13, 2019
Lykes led Miami in scoring last season as he averaged 16.2 points per game
UCF – It’s impossible not to be entertained and amazed by the point guard of the University of Miami’s men’s basketball team.
Chris Lykes is the leading scorer for a program playing in the best conference in the country that has made the NCAA tournament three of the last four seasons.
And he stands all of five feet, seven inches.
Lykes, who has a game comparable to former Atlanta Hawks standout Spud Webb, has incredible quickness and has an astounding vertical leap (Lykes can dunk the ball).
According to Miami, Lykes, from Mitchellville, MD, is just one of 13 recruited scholarship players under 6’0 at a high-major program (meaning the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC).
Despite not leading his team in scoring as he has been known to do in Miami’s 79-70 win at UCF on Tuesday night, the diminutive Lykes made his presence felt in a variety of ways.
The problems that Lykes causes defensively were evident throughout the first half. On UCF’s second possession of the game, when Lykes harassed a UCF defensively until the much taller Knight committed an offensive foul.
Later in the half. Lykes was able to force a turnover after impressively holding up while fronting his man while in a post position and in the second he held his own on a possession in which he was being posted up that led to a UCF turnover.
His dribbling and ability drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd, and the attention he drew clearly allowed others, such as Oklahoma transfer Kameron McGusty (points) to flourish.
His ability to change directions is something that you’d figure to only find in a video game, but not with Lykes, who executed his typical mind-bending dribbling moves against Knight defenders throughout the game.
Included in that was a crossover dribble in the second half that sent a UCF player sprawling to the ground in a sequence led to Lykes earning three free throw attempts, which isn’t uncommon for him given that he has a very solid 76.3 career free-throw shooting percentage.
And although his shooting wasn’t as good on this night as he would have preferred, save for a 3-point basket with just over three minutes left in the game that essentially salted away the win, his 16.2 points per game scoring average during the 2018-2019 season (good for second-highest among players 6’0 or shorter in high-major conferences, added the school) season shows that he’s capable of taking over a game offensively.
“I give Miami a lot of credit,” said UCF head coach Johnny Dawks after the game. “I thought they played well. I thought their guard play was really solid, a couple veteran guards, Lykes and….(D.J.) Vaselivic….I thought those guys really led them, as two older guards and I thought the rest of the guys played off them.”
His ability to impact a game hasn’t gone unnoticed by others, either as Lykes was selected to the preseason All-ACC second team.
Oh, and Lykes excels in the classroom too as he was also named to the All-ACC Academic Team.
Miami was picked to finish ninth in that ACC preseason poll, meaning that if the past is any indication and that projection is correct, the Hurricanes could be fighting for a bid to the NCAA Tournament right down to the wire this season.
If the Hurricanes are successful, one of if not its biggest reasons will be Lykes.