POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The community college system offers a lot to individuals who want to take advantage of its opportunities. Christalah Lyons is a prime example of a student athletes who attended a JUCO, earned an opportunity to play at the high major level and is now looking to pay it forward to future athletes.
Who better to show the next generation of Wildcats the value of community college than someone who took advantage of the two-year system to achieve her goals?
On Tuesday, Pearl River women's basketball coach Scotty Fletcher completed his 2020-21 staff with the addition of former Trinity Valley and Kansas star Christalah Lyons.
"I am beyond excited to welcome Coach Lyons to my staff here at Pearl River. She is a proven winner and has an impressive playing resume. She is extremely well thought of from her previous coaches, and that itself speaks volumes," Fletcher said. "Her journey to achieve what she has thus far, is a direct reflection of self-discipline and personal accountability. I loved hearing about her path to the University of Kansas.
"She has a great deal of respect for the impact her junior college journey instilled in her and we look forward to her sharing that wisdom with our players here at The River as well as future Wildcats."
Lyons is Fletchers' second new assistant this offseason after hiring fellow Trinity Valley and Mississippi State standout Savannah Carter. Lyons' main responsibilities will deal with recruitment, player development and day-to-day operations.
"There are really no words that can explain how I feel about being a part of a great team and coaching staff. I am truly grateful and appreciative of the opportunity that Coach Fletcher has given me," Lyons said. "I am ready to bring spunk and spice to an already great team. Being a young coach in a big coaching business is not easy but I am fortunate to have a coach that was willing to take a chance on me.
"I am excited to learn and ready to start the season."
SKYLINE HIGH (TEXAS)
A native of Dallas, Texas, Lyons is a perfect example of what the PRCC staff hopes to preach to its Wildcats.
Lyons was a star at Skyline High in Dallas, leading her team to a 31-7 record and berth in 2015 6A Texas State Championship game. As a senior, Lyons averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and scored 23 points in the game that advanced her squad to the title competition.
Lyons played for perennial contender Trinity Valley Community College for two seasons. During that time, Lyons led TVCC to a remarkable 61-10 record and two NJCAA runner-up finishes.
As a freshman on the 2015-16 team that finished 31-4, Lyons scored 13.3 points per game. She also averaged 4.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per contest.
The following season, TVCC posted a 30-6 record with Lyons once again driving the bus. The shifty guard completed her sophomore season averaging 11.9 points, 2.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals.
Her standout performances landed her on several recruiting rankings, including No. 4 at her position and No. 11 overall.
Ultimately, Lyons chose to sign with Kansas over several other suitors. Lyons made an immediate impact during the 2017-18 season as a junior and was one of two Jayhawks to start all 30 games. She led KU in scoring with 14.8 ppg and was the only Kansas player to score more than 400 points (443). Against Big 12 foes, Lyons upped her game and ranked 10th among her counterparts with a 15.1 scoring clip. The junior hit double-figures 27 times and eclipsed 20 points three times. Lyons finished her junior season averaging 3.2 assists per game — good enough for 10th in the conference — and sank 43.1 percent of her shots from the floor. The 5-foot-5 guard also averaged 3.1 rebounds. The performance earned Lyons All-Big 12 Honorable Mention status.
As a senior in 2018-19, Lyons continued to excel. She was once again one of only two Jayhawks to start every game. She averaged 12 points overall and 12.8 against Big 12 competition. She also hit double figures 17 times with a career-best 24-point performance coming against Iowa State. She shot 39.2 percent from the floor for the season and led KU in assists with 96 for a 3.1 average. Once again, Lyons was selected as an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.
Following her KU career, Lyons played professionally in Romania for Olimpia CSU Brasov.
Lyons is the daughter of Mikie Dean and Chris Lyons. She has two brothers, Chris Lyons and Davon Garrett. Lyons majored in communications at KU.
BY: Patrick Ochs
Pearl River Community College
Director of Marketing & Communications