Final Four: Matt Lyde-Cajuste, Syracuse's brainy but seldom-used forward, shoots for title
Syracuse’s Matt Lyde-Cajuste is one of two Hudson Valley-bred athletes playing in the Final Four.
OK, maybe “playing” is too strong of a word.
Lyde-Cajuste, a senior walk-on who attended Iona Prep, has played just 22 minutes this season. He saw action in only one of the Orange’s NCAA Tournament games so far – their opener, in which they crushed Montana 81-34. So unless Syracuse finds itself in serious foul trouble, beset by injuries or on the good end of another rout, don’t expect to see the 6-foot-5 forward on the floor in Atlanta.
The Orange play Michigan at 8:49 p.m. Saturday.
Although Lyde-Cajuste, a Mount Vernon native, might not be known as one of Syracuse’s most talented players, he does have a reputation for being one of its smartest. At Iona Prep, he was vice president of the National Honors Society. He started college as an aerospace engineering major before switching to mechanical engineering. He reportedly already has a job lined up with JPMorgan Chase after he graduates.
Lyde-Cajuste told The Syracuse Post-Standard in January that, when called into action, he knows his smarts must translate to the basketball court.
“Strength and physicality are extremely important,” Lyde-Cajuste said. “But intuition and basketball IQ can be more important than any of those traits. It's knowing what they’re most likely going to do in certain situations and being able to beat guys to places that you imagine they’ll be.”
The other local player in the Final Four is Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early, whom Hudson Valley Home Stand will profile Wednesday.