Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatoon-Born Trey Lyles One of 28 Canadians on March Madness Rosters

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatoon-Born Trey Lyles One of 28 Canadians on March Madness Rosters

Article excerpt

Lyles tops Canadians in March Madness


Whoever was working out at 6 a.m. at the Armstrong Pavilion in Indianapolis years ago would stop and watch Trey Lyles, intrigued by the scrawny fourth-grader who was doing layups while strapped in a weight vest, or skipping with a thick five-pound jump rope.

"His workouts were brutal, they were gruesome," says his dad Thomas. "But I wanted him to understand that if you're going to do this, in order for you to be the best, you have to understand how to work, and every moment on this court has to be productive.

"A person can be better than you, they can be more athletic, they can be stronger, they can be faster, they can be taller. But one thing they cannot do, they cannot outwork you."

The hard work obviously paid off as nearly a decade later, Trey Lyles is a rising star on Canada's burgeoning basketball landscape. The 19-year-old is a freshman forward for the Kentucky Wildcats, who ride a perfect 34-0 season record into the NCAA men's basketball championship.

He's also one of 28 Canadians on the March Madness men's rosters.

Lyles was born in Saskatoon to an American dad and Canadian mom. Thomas was there playing for the Saskatoon Storm of the World Basketball League. Trey has spent most of his life in Indianapolis, where he and his dad developed an early-morning ritual of hitting the gym together, rising each day at 5 a.m.

"It started out with me getting him up, and then it became such the norm, there would be days when I'd think, 'I'm just going to sleep in today. We're not going to go,'" Thomas says in a phone interview. "And he would sneak in my room and he'd be (whispering), 'Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. Are we going to the gym?' This was like 5:15 in the morning, and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm so tired.' But I never said no."

Trey, who also played hockey and baseball as a youngster, would strap on a weight vest -- this "little bitty skinny kid" -- and Thomas would guide him through a rigorous session of layups, dribbling and shooting. He'd skip with a jump rope as thick as a washing machine hose.

"He kept wanting it, wanted more and more and more, and it just became a lifestyle for him," says Thomas. …

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