Miami Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes decides to turn pro


MIAMI — Dynamic 5-foot-7 Miami Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes has decided to turn pro after a senior season limited to two games because of an ankle injury.

Lykes’ size makes him a long shot for the NBA, but he’ll earn his degree this spring and wants to move on, coach Jim Larranaga said Friday.

“Does that mean he’s going to be in the NBA or Europe next year? I don’t think he knows yet,” Larranaga said. “He’s a basketball player. He told me: ‘Hey, I want to make some money at this. I want to make as much money as I can.’”

Lykes led Miami in scoring as a sophomore and junior.

Senior forward Elijah Olaniyi also will not return. He hopes to turn pro but will also enter the transfer portal, Larranaga said.

Senior forward Sam Waardenburg plans to return for a sixth season after missing all of 2020-21 because of a shoulder injury. Guard Earl Timberlake, one of the most highly rated recruits in Hurricanes history, earlier entered the transfer portal after a freshman season cut short by a shoulder injury.

Riddled by health issues, the Hurricanes went 10-17 overall and 4-15 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Several players remain undecided about whether to return next season, Larranaga said. That includes last season’s top two scorers, sophomore guard Isaiah Wong and senior forward Kameron McGusty, who have NBA aspirations.

The unsettled roster is a reflection of how the sport’s culture has changed, Larranaga said.

“Almost every college basketball player, I don’t care what level he’s at, the main goal is to get to the NBA. And I think that’s tragic,” Larranaga said. “You should go to college to get your degree, and if an opportunity comes along that you can’t pass up, go for it. But education has taken a back seat.”

Larranaga, 71, will try to lead a turnaround by Miami after enduring three consecutive losing seasons for the first time in his 37-year head coaching career.

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