Chris Lykes may be one of the smallest players on the circuit, but that's only if you're measuring by height.
If you measure by height, heart, toughness, or a variety of other aspects, and Lykes would be right at the top.
Lykes will return to Team Takeover for his season season in the 17U EYBL, and he is looking to improve upon his output as a sophomore.
D1's Alec Kinsky caught up with the 5-foot-6 playmaker, addressing a variety of topics surrounding Lykes' rise as a national recruit.
Alec Kinsky: First and foremost, how was your junior year? Did you have the success that you thought you would?
Chris Lykes: My junior year went pretty well. We have a pretty inexperienced team losing four seniors, but we shocked a lot of people by coming out ready to play and winning a lot of games. I believed we would be good because we had a lot of guys who can actually play and are versatile enough to match up with anybody. We had a pretty good season and made it to the semifinals and lost to DeMatha. As an individual, I accomplished being named Player of the Year of the WCAC, and made 1st-Team All-WCAC. I led the league in assists and three-point field goals made.
AK: What’s it like playing for Team Takeover? How has the program impacted you?
Lykes: Playing with Takeover is a great expereice and a perfect opportunity to showcase your talents and potential. They teach you how the game is supposed to be played and while other teams in AAU normally play without any structure, Takeover emphasizes the importance of defense. It’s one of the biggest AAU organizations and it’s a great opportunity.
AK: How are you approaching this year’s 17U EYBL season compared to last?
Lykes: I’m approaching this year’s EYBL season as one of the leaders because I’m experienced and I know what it takes to win games. Last year when I first started playing, I had to adjust to playing with this type of competition.
AK: From experience, what would you say is the biggest difference between HS and EYBL?
Lykes: The biggest difference is definitely the amount of competition on the court.
AK: Do you have to adjust your game at all individually?
Lykes: I have the change the way I finish around the rim. And make sure that I consistently elevate on my shot.
Photo credit: Twitter.com
AK: What do you feel you do best on the court right now?
Lykes: Use my speed and quickness to create for myself or my teammates.
AK: What’s it like being in a Keith Stevens’ huddle? He has relentless energy on the sideline.
Lykes: (laughs) No doubt, his energy impacts me too. That’s something you always want to have from a coach, is knowing that he wants to win just as bad as you do and Coach Keith does that. He’s tough on us but I wouldn’t want it any other way, because what he’s saying is right.
AK: What was the most eye-opening aspect about playing in the EYBL as a sophomore?
Lykes: Definitely the athleticism and versatility from the bigs. First couple of games I struggled getting any layups off (laughs). They blocked everything.
AK: What’s it like running with DJ? I’m sure you have some good chemistry by now.
Lykes: Running with DJ is real cool. Especially after we kill each other all season. We are both scoring threats on the court so it can be hard for a defense to focus on both os us.
AK: When you think of the next level, what’s most important to you when picking a school?
Lykes: The style of play at the school and if it fits mine. Also who is there. That’s basically it for me. There’s going to be competition wherever I go, but it’s the work you put in once you get there.
AK: Any idea what you want to study?
Lykes: I think I might do Engineering, I’m not sure yet.
AK: Do you model your game after anyone?
Lykes: Definitely Allen Iverson. Chris Paul. Nate Robinson.
AK: When did you first realize that basketball was going to be an avenue of success for you?
Lykes: After my first year of high school basketball. I proved I was able to compete in the WCAC with my size as a freshman.
AK: What will ultimately make hoops a success for you?
Lykes: If I can use it to get an education and continue to let it take me as far as I can go