LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas has reached into the transfer portal for another proven and highly coveted backcourt prospect as Miami senior-transfer Chris Lykes committed to the Razorbacks on Wednesday.
Lykes (5-7 guard, native of Mitchellville, Md.) chose the Hogs over Southern California after also being recruited by Auburn, Maryland, Georgetown, and Seton Hall among others. He’ll have one more season of immediate playing eligibility beginning in 2021-22.
A preseason All ACC selection, Lykes played in only two games in ’20-21 due to an ankle injury, then at the conclusion of the season he initially considered leaving Miami to pursue professional basketball opportunities in late March, but instead entered the transfer portal. He becomes Arkansas’ second Division 1 college transfer addition in the 2021 recruiting class, joining Pitt junior Au’Diese Toney (6-6 wing) who committed to the Hogs on Thursday, April 1.
“Chris is a proven, dynamic guard who has excelled in the ACC,” Arkansas head coach Musselman said. “He has the ability to score and get his teammates involved. We like how he attacks the paint and gets to the free throw line. He also has shown great leadership. We are very excited to have Chris join our program and our fans will enjoy watching him play.”
Twice the Hurricane’s leading scorer — as a sophomore in ’18-19 and as a junior in ’19-20 — Lykes averaged 15.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in 28.5 minutes while shooting 36.4% from the field, including 45.5% from 3, and 90.9% from the free throw line in Miami’s early-season wins over North Florida and Stetson before missing the remainder of the season with the injury.
As a junior in ’19-20, Lykes started 24 of 26 games and averaged 15.4 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 30.1 minutes per game while shooting 43.2% field goals, including 51-of-134 from 3 for 38.1%, and 81.4% free throws. He scored 20 or more points six times in ’19-20, including a career-high-matching 28 points in an 81-79 road win over Illinois.
As a sophomore in ’18-19, Lykes started all 32 games and averaged 16.2 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.7 rebounds in 23.8 minutes per game while shooting 40.6% from the field, including including 61-of-192 from 3 for 31.8%, and 78.1% from the free throw line. He scored 20 or more points in 10 games as a sophomore.
In his three seasons plus two games at Miami, Lykes started 68 times and totaled 1,256 points, 251 assists, 188 rebounds, and 100 steals.
Musselman has a history of coaching guards with a listed height below 5-foot-10, specifically former NBA guard and current Razorbacks director of student-athlete development Earl Boykins, who at 5-5 played for Musselman when he was the head coach of the Golden State Warriors during the ’02-03 season.
Musselman has landed a total of 13 transfers (5 in the 2019 recruiting class, 5 in 2020, and 3 so far in 2021) and 6 high school prospects (4 in 2020, one signed in 2021, and one committed in 2022) spanning parts of five recruiting cycles overlapping his two seasons as head coach at Arkansas.
Lykes is the latest backcourt piece that Musselman is bringing in to help offest the loss of junior Desi Sills (6-1 guard who is transferring) and the expected departures of freshman Moses Moody (6-6 guard) and senior Jalen Tate (6-6 combo guard). With ESPN Top 100 high school prospect Chance Moore (6-5 wing, McEachern School in Georgia) signed in the November period combined with the portal haul of Toney and Lykes, the Hogs now have three incoming guards for the ’21-22 season.
As the roster numbers stand now, the Hogs are at their maximum of 13 scholarships. But again, Moody is expected to leave school to enter the 2021 NBA Draft and there’s likely to be more roster attrition via the transfer portal or pro ball pursuits.