Manchester Giants have added high-scoring 6’8” forward Lyle Hexom to the roster for the 2020-21 British Basketball League (BBL) campaign, a player who formerly represented Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Summer League.
The 25-year-old American, from Omaha, graduated from NAIA college Peru State in 2019, where he was a First Team All-American and Heart of America Athletic Conference Player of the Year, after averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, while connecting on over one hundred three-pointers at a rate of 43% on the season.
He led Peru State to the Heart Conference Championship, averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds in tournament games, including 25 points in the final. That led to an NAIA National Tournament berth, where Peru State fell short in the opening round despite a haul of 30 points – including five three-pointers – and 10 rebounds from Hexom.
He holds a number of Peru State records, including that for three-pointers made in a single game when he hit 10 on his way to 38 points against Missouri Valley in February 2019. His average of 2.4 blocks per game, and 81 on the season, is also a school record. His 711 total points and 350 rebounds were third and second respectively in Bobcat history, and his career 41.9% from three-point range is also tied-second.
Those performances saw him catch the eye of NBA scouts, as he worked out with the Washington Wizards, New Jersey Nets and Charlotte Hornets in the summer of 2019, before playing NBA Summer League for the Grizzlies. His best performance there saw him grab nine rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs, matching up with the likes of Thomas Robinson, who has more than 300 NBA games to his name. He also featured against the Boston Celtics, playing against NBA regulars such as Tacko Fall, Grant Williams and Robert Williams.
Hexom’s Summer League experience was followed by a short stint with Djurgarden of Sweden’s top division, where he had six points and seven rebounds in his only game.
Prior to Peru State, he also starred for a very successful Saddleback College in the California Community College Athletic Association, where he was second on the team in scoring with 11 points per game, and led the team in rebounding with 6.1. That team won 94% of its games in 2015-16, including the Regional Tournament Final, before slipping to a first defeat in four months in the State Championship Final. Hexom scored 17 points to lead them through overtime in the semi-final, and fell short despite 21 points in the final.
Head Coach Danny Byrne said: “Lyle is a flat out scorer, with a huge amount of offensive variety to his game. His ability to score from almost anywhere and in so many different ways, at his size, makes him extremely difficult for opposition defences to cover.”
“Despite his scoring ability making the headlines, Lyle is also a solid rim protector, and was third in the entire NAIA in blocked shots a couple of seasons ago. He has averaged around two blocks per game in each of his last three seasons.”
“His successful college career took him to All-American status and to the NBA Summer League. After a difficult season last time out, we are pleased to have secured the services of a potentially elite talent, and believe that this will be his breakout opportunity as a professional.”