Check after the jump for the latest twist in this story. Further coverage on what precipitated this move, as well as analysis of the impact on next year's roster, will be coming out tomorrow.
Word coming out of Xavier - as also reported by almost every major news outlet - is that Mark Lyons will not be back with the Musketeers for the 2012-2013 season. While this runs contrary to what was earlier reported, it's not altogether surprising. While Lyons was only a junior academically, he had spent a year at prep school and been redshirted for a year as a partial qualifier. In fact, other than graduate student Andre Walker, Lyons was the oldest player on Xavier's roster last year.
Reports are swirling regarding what may have precipitated this move, but it would be prudent to exercise caution regarding those. Jeff Goodman's sources state that "on and off-court incidents may have contributed" to Lyons' decision to leave the school. We've got lines out to our sources as well and will pass along any clarification that they are willing to put on the record.
This is a blow to a Xavier squad that was going to be counting on big numbers from Mark Lyons to help ease the burden on incoming guards Semaj Christon and Myles Davis. With the departure of Lyons added to the graduations of Tu Holloway, Kenny Frease, and Andre Walker, Xavier will have lost 48 points per game of scoring from last year's squad. All of the incoming freshman can play ball, but it's always hard to project the transition to the college game, even for the most talented of newcomers. Dez Wells is now Xavier's top returning scorer (9.8 PPG); hopefully he's ready to take on a starring role this fall.
Of course, this does give Coach Mack another scholarship to play with. There's always a chance that he could bring in an immediately eligible player a la Andre Walker to help the team out for a year. A quick scan of the list of transferring players, however, doesn't reveal anyone who is eligible to play now whose game is particularly inspiring. One name that has been bantered about has been Drake's Rayvonte Rice. Rice is a big-bodied (6'4", 235) guard who scored 16.8 PPG last year. We'll keep you posted as things develop.
UPDATE: In a story from Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mark Lyons said he was "surprised by the report" made by Jeff Goodman of CBS. Goodman is usually accurate with his Xavier scoops, and Lyons could just mean that he is surprised word got out, but it seems like something odd is at work here. In a year already filled with the massive confusion of the student suspension that wasn't, you would expect Xavier to try to get ahead of these stories. Once again though, they aren't, and speculation is running rampant. Hopefully Monday morning will bring with it a bit of clarity.