A former local hoops star believes his time spent playing basketball in the Hudson Valley led him to being selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft.

Last Thursday, with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft the Denver Nuggets selected Tyler Lydon.

“I could not be more excited to be drafted by an organization like the Denver Nuggets and to be going to Denver and playing in Colorado,” Lydon told the Nuggets moments after he was drafted. “This whole night was a little stressful but I could not be more happy, more excited to join this organization, getting out there and playing.”

A stressful night is probably an understatement for the former Pine Plains basketball star. In March, when the Elizaville native announced he was leaving Syracuse for the NBA, most draft experts had Lydon going in the first round. Since then many mock drafts had him slipping into the second round.

Concerns about the  6-foot-9 20-year-old’s true NBA position and defense likely caused Lydon to slip in the mocks. The difference in being selected in the second round as opposed to the first round is potentially a loss of millions of dollars in salary.

After being taking in the first round, Lydon is expected to receive a guaranteed four-year $8.4 million contract, reports Forbes.

Lydon believes growing up in a small Hudson Valley town and playing against his older brothers led him to the NBA.

“I grew up in a really small town. I couldn't even tell you how many people are in here maybe 2,000 or 2,500 or somewhere in that area. I have an older brother and two younger brothers so there was a lot of two-on-two matchups going on but it was really in large part due to my older brother because I always wanted to be better than him and try and do everything better than he could. He could shoot the ball great so I wanted to be a better shooter and so he kind of was my driving force and made me develop a good work ethic and he spent a lot of time with me in the gym and outside on our home court and all that fun stuff just working out with me and all those types of things. I truly believe that he developed the competitive person that I am and I don't think I’d be in this position without him,” Lydon said.

Last years as a freshman, the Elizaville native provided the Orange with 10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and a team-high 1.6 blocks off the bench. He sealed Syracuse’s win to reach the Final Four with a clutch block in the final seconds. It was one of 6 blocks he had in the game.

In 2011, as a freshman in high school, Lydon helped Pine Plains win their first boys basketball section championship since the 1960s.  Lydon and the Bombers repeated as Section 9 champions in 2012 and 2013. Also in 2013, he led Pine Plains to the Class C New York State Championship game.

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