Lyons’ share of work

Arthur Lyons couldn’t fall asleep in the summer. He doesn’t know why, but each day he found himself up at 5:30 a.m. before the sun emerged from the night. And with time to kill before morning workouts at Lake Linden-Hubbell, Lyons made a routine of heading to the Gipp Park in Laurium to get shots up on the outdoor courts.

“I had nothing else to do, so I was just like, ‘Why not?'” Lyons said of his 5:30 a.m. shootarounds.

Those shootarounds, before his peers were even awake, exemplify the diligent work ethic of the 6-1 senior guard. It was that work ethic that led to him average 27 points and an abundance of postseason awards, including: AP Class D First Team All-State, Basketball Coaches of Michigan All-State and Copper Mountain Conference Player of The Year.

On Wednesday at Northern Michigan University, Lyons was once again honored by being named to the All-U.P. Dream Team by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

“Before the season, getting these awards was the ultimate dream, because I never thought it was going to happen, but I’m really happy it did,” Lyons said.

In addition to his area-high scoring average, Lyons averaged 6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2 steals and was a 47 percent shooter from the field, including 46 percent from beyond the arc where he converted on 96 of 208 3-point attempts.

“I’m happy for the kid,” LL-H head coach Jack Kumpula said. “He works so hard and he’s a good kid to coach. We don’t often get everything we deserve up here, but he certainly has.”

So what was a typical summer day like for Lyons?

After his 5:30 a.m. shootaround at the park, he’d head to LL-H’s gym at 9 a.m. and have individual work until 10:30 a.m., which is when he would head to the weight room. Once he was done lifting, Lyons – a quarterback – would throw to his receivers as they ran routes and learned various offensive plays in preparation for the fall football season. To wrap up the day, it was back to the park where he would scrimmage with his friends on the courts. When the scrimmaging was over – around 6:30 p.m. – Lyons’ all-day workout session would be completed. That is if there wasn’t open gym, which kept Lyons out until 8:30 p.m. In total, Lyons estimates he made between 500-800 shots a day, including 200-300 3s.

“I never had a kid work as hard as he did at getting better,” Kumpula said.

Lyons’ emergence as a lethal scorer came to a surprise, even to his coach. As a sophomore Lyons wasn’t moved to the varsity until tournaments, and that was more of a token promotion rather than as a legitimate threat to help the team win. And last year he averaged just under 13 points a game.

“Arthur really wasn’t a standout sophomore,” Kumpula said. “He was an average kid on the basketball floor, but he worked so hard at his game and learned a lot from Tyler Roose.”

Roose is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,349 points and graduated after the 2015 season. During Roose’s senior year, him and Lyons routinely played one-on-one against each other; here, Lyons began developing his game.

“He basically taught me how to play basketball,” Lyons said of Roose. “We’d play one-on-one and I’d learn by just off of how competitive he is. We’d shoot together all the time during practice. I guess I didn’t copy his shot form, but we do a lot of things that are really similar in the mental side of shooting.”

Lyons finished with a single-season school record of 648 points, which surpasses the 456 total of Brett Poissant in 2014-15. Lyons came just short of the 1,000-point mark, finishing his career with 959 points.

“I thought he’d average in the 16-18 point range,” Kumpula said. “but to step up and do what he did all season long was unbelievable.

“At halftime you thought he must have 10-12 points, but he’d have around 18-20 points. He was very quiet. When he scored a ton of points, you didn’t know it.”

The rest of the All-U.P. Dream Team consisted of North Central junior Jason Whitens, St. Ignace senior Gage Kreski, Iron Mountain junior Carson Wonders and Pickford junior Derrick Edington.