Tyrone Lee sparks GVSU basketball
GVL / Robert Mathews
It hasn’t taken long for senior Tyrone Lee to make an impact on the Grand Valley State University men’s basketball program.
After Lee spent two years at Oakland Community College, where he was named all-conference, he transferred to GVSU.
In just his first year at GVSU, Lee was named to the GLIAC All-Defensive team in his innagural season as a Laker last year.
“His wingspan and his mobility really help him on defense to disrupt, get steals, block shots, and rebound,” said head coach Ric Wesley. “He’s a bit of an intimidating presence when he’s in your area.”
Lee averaged 5.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and was 14th in the GLIAC in blocked shots, tallying 23 on the year. Wesley saw the potential for Lee as a lockdown defender, and transformed Lee into a one of the perennial defenders in the conference.
“It’s something that he’s really bought into when he first got here,” Wesley said. “I don’t think he recognized how effective he could be as a defender, and I think he’s really bought into that and been a mainstay for us on that end of the floor. I think his length, his wingspan, the length of his body make him unique on our team and one of the more unique players in the conference.”
For Lee, the transformation began once he stepped on campus at GVSU. Lee had to get acquainted to an entirely new team, coaches, and system on the fly in his first season. Now, Lee is one of the team’s captains and helps set the tone for the Lakers.
“Last year, I was just trying to get used to everything,” Lee said. “I followed guys lead that have been here for years. They took me under their wing and taught me the system at Grand Valley. I just picked up the ways and I always been a leader, so me being a leader, I have to come in and work hard everyday and show a good attitude everyday at practice. It’s win or go home.”
This year, Lee has improved both his points and rebounds per game from the previous year. He is currently the Lakers third leading scorer, at 8.8 points per game and increased his rebound total to 4.89 boards per game. Lee’s growth has been noticeable by everyone at GVSU, including his teammates.
“I feel like he’s learned a lot,” said junior Rob Woodson. “He’s learned the system, and how to pick his spots. At first, he pretty much relied on his athleticism. He’s such a smart player and now he can slow the game down and read the defenses. If they double-team him, he can kick it out. He’s a great passer out of the post and if he’s one-on-one, he knows to stay aggressive and attack. He grew this year and he learned a lot.”
Lee’s leadership is not only limited to on the court, but extends to off the court as well. Coach Wesley is impressed by the changes that Lee has undergone throughout his time at GVSU.
“He really made a huge improvement from year to year,” Wesley said. “Like a lot of junior college players, he didn’t quite have the focus and discipline needed to play at this level.
This year he came back a much more focused player. Much more of a leader this year and has been really a joy to have around this year. It helps our team not only on the floor, but off the floor as far as his personality and his leadership.”
For Lee, he wants to finish his career at GVSU on top. He carries this mentality out in practices and games.
“I want to have something to look back on,” Lee said. “I don’t want to leave Grand Valley with a sour taste in my mouth. Like, man I wish I could’ve done this or I wish I could’ve done that. I just want to leave with no regrets and leave everything on the floor – every minute and every possession.”