Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported on Monday that there was a shooting incident at a party hosted by New Mexico guard JaQuan Lyle on Saturday night.
New Mexico’s JaQuan Lyle did not play in Saturday’s road loss to Nevada, but hosted a party that night in which someone was shot, source told @stadium. Person was not critically injured in the shooting.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) January 27, 2020
Geoff Grammer followed up shortly after with some additional reporting, noting that the party was heavily promoted around campus.
The party was heavily promoted. With flyers and all. Lots of non UNM students at party, too.— Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) January 27, 2020
Among those there were UNM basketball players, who chartered back from Reno after 22pt loss to Nevada, got to Abq at midnight, went to the party. ...
When the news broke, it prompted a lot of of responses along the lines of “I just learned that JaQuan Lyle is still in college.”
One of the classic tropes of College Basketball Twitter is to riff on how long a player has been in school if it feels as if the player has been around for a few years. Perry Ellis. Ethan Happ. Whoever Duke’s Seventh Man Is in a given year.
You know the names.
However, in Lyle’s case, it almost feels as if he’s been in the general consciousness of the college basketball world for nearly a decade. Because he has been.
Here’s a timeline of the New Mexico redshirt senior guard’s winding journey that has led him to his current situation today.
Lyle first burst onto the scene as a talented freshman at Evansville Bosse High School. At just 14 years old, Lyle was already generating interest from high-major programs like Illinois, Indiana and Purdue. Tom Crean had even offered him a scholarship before his first high school game.
He was immediately considered to be one of the most talented players in a class that included stars like Trey Lyles, James Blackmon Jr. and Trevon Blueitt. In the summer of 2011, he was ranked as the No. 10 player in the 2014 class by ESPN.
Shortly after a visit to Louisville in the summer of 2013, Lyle committed to then-head coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals. At the time, he was still considered a five-star prospect and was ranked as the No. 12 prospect in his class by Scout.
A few weeks after committing to Louisville, Lyle announced that he would transfer form Evansville Bosse to Huntington Prep for his senior. He joined a roster that already included future college standouts like Josh Perkins, Angel Delgado and Jalen Lindsey.
Lyle’s commitment to Pitino and the Cardinals would ultimately be short-lived as the five-star guard wound up de-committing early in the fall of 2013.
More on that later!
In the spring of his senior season of high school, Lyle’s second recruitment came to a close with a commitment to Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks. His standing among the nation’s best prospects had fallen a bit to No. 41 in ESPN’s 2014 Class, but the combo guard was still an undeniable talent and a great pickup for the Ducks.
Unfortunately, Lyle never got the chance to suit up for Oregon. Just before the fall semester was set to commence, Lyle was removed from Oregon’s roster.
At that point, Lyle and Oregon were still awaiting a response from the NCAA Clearinghouse as to whether Lyle would be cleared to enroll for the fall semester. The credit issue would ultimately prevent him from ever enrolling at the university.
Following his removal from the Oregon roster, Lyle would spend the 2014-15 season at IMG Academy in Florida.
For the third time in his life, Lyle committed to a high-major program. This time it was Thad Matta and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The third time was indeed the charm in his case.
Lyle turned out to be one of Ohio State’s most important players during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. In his two seasons as a Buckeye, Lyle averaged 11.3 points, 4.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. However, Ohio State failed to make the NCAA Tournament, which would ultimately lead to Thad Matta’s ouster from the program in June of 2017.
Before even stepping foot on the court in an official college basketball game, Lyle made waves in the national spotlight.
Lyle confirmed to an NCAA investigator that the allegations surrounding paid escorts during his recruiting trip to Louisville in June 2013 were true.
The allegations were presented in Katina Powell’s bombshell book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.” In the book, Powell wrote that four escorts were sent to do a show for a recruit named JaQuan Lyle at the request of Andre McGee, who was a Louisville staff member at the time.
As we all know, this would prove to be the beginning of the end for Rick Pitino at Louisville.
Lyle was always talked about as being a jack-of-all trades type of guard, and that was on full display in a game against Rutgers during his freshman year.
On Jan. 13, 2016, he notched the only triple-double of his career with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a blowout win.
On May 13, 2017, Lyle was arrested in Indiana and charged with public intoxication, criminal mischief to a vehicle and disorderly conduct.
At the time, it was not public knowledge that Lyle was no longer part of the Ohio State basketball program. But following the arrest, an Ohio State spokesperson stated that Lyle had left the program nearly a month earlier on April 11.
Lyle committed to New Mexico later that summer, making the Lobos the fourth school to secure his commitment at one point or another.
Due to NCAA transfer rules, Lyle was required to sit out the 2017-18 season.
After sitting out the 2017-18 season, Lyle had to sit out yet another season, this time due to injury. Just before the official start of team practices, Lyle ruptured his achilles tendon, which sidelined him for the entire season.
Lyle made his Lobo debut in his first college basketball game in a year and a half.
Throughout this season, he’s been one of New Mexico’s best players. He’s averaging a career-high and team-leading 17.1 points per game as well as career bests in assists and steals per game. He’s been a key cog for a New Mexico team that’s 16-6 on the season and above .500 in Mountain West play.
Despite his strong play this year, Lyle has been sidelined in New Mexico’s last two games as he nurses a knee injury. That includes Saturday’s game against Nevada when he allegedly stayed behind in Albuquerque as the rest of the team travelled to Reno.
As mentioned above, that’s when the shooting incident at the party took place.
That brings it all full circle.
It remains to be seen what’s next for Lyle and the Lobos. New Mexico has not announced any disciplinary action for attendees of the party, and Lyle’s status for Wednesday night’s game against undefeated San Diego State is still up in the air.
Nonetheless, it’s another layer to what has become a fascinating, occasionally sad story of a college basketball player that has seen just about everything the sport has to offer on his chaotic journey.
Everything, that is, except for the NCAA Tournament.