MU men's basketball players look to the future

Friday, April 24, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — With their college careers behind them, Missouri standouts DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons believe they’ve made a strong showing to NBA evaluators.

Both players accepted postseason invitations to the Portsmouth Invitational Camp in Virginia, which featured some of the nation’s top college seniors divided into teams in a tournament.

Carroll averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds in three games and was named the tournament MVP as his team finished third. Lyons averaged nearly 14 points and seven rebounds in the tourney.

Both players considered entering the draft last year but decided to return for their senior seasons. It was a good move. Their showing during the Tigers’ surprise run to the Elite Eight almost certainly elevated both players’ standing with NBA scouts.

“Like coach (Mike Anderson) always says, everyone likes winners,” Carroll said. “Coming back helped me and Leo and just pushed our stock up more than where it was before.”

Carroll said it was good to be around some of the nation’s best players at the camp.

“They’re people trying to prove themselves just like me and Leo are,” he said. “I think what distinguished me from guys in Portsmouth was that they were out there trying to do different things, while I stayed true to myself and did what I did in college.”

Lyons, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Kansas City, Kan., has been considered by some the better NBA prospect of the two with his ability to create off the dribble and do a variety of different things on the court.

Coaches in Portsmouth told Carroll to work on his consistency on the court and finishing at the basket. He was also told to work on his mid-range jumper. Carroll was commended for his intensity and ability to play either the wing or the post positions.

Both players have signed with agent Mark Bartelstein, but with about two months left until the draft, the work is far from over. Carroll will head out to Los Angeles this weekend to work out until the draft, while Lyons will be doing the same in Chicago.

If their names aren’t called, both hope to play basketball somewhere.

“It’s a plus to play basketball after college, period, because pro basketball is pro basketball,” Lyons said. “Playing basketball and getting paid to do it is always a good thing. Obviously I’d like to play in the NBA, but I’ll play anywhere."

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