NEW ORLEANS — “Rise and Grind” has been a theme for years now with Rory Poplion and Ryghe Lyons.

The two are training daily, preparing Ryghe for his shot at playing professional basketball.

“When I first started working with G, he was 6’7 maybe 180. Now he’s 6’11, 248. When he came in, he was mostly a perimeter guy, shooting the three ball. Now he’s a great passer, he’s just got a great IQ for the game. He can handle the ball. He can shoot it on a consistent basis and he’s a great person to be around. He has this infectious personality that makes his teammates love to hoop with him,” says Delgado Assistant and Player Development Coach Rory Poplion.

Ryghe has played a ton of winning basketball, serving as the centerpiece of John Curtis’ 2015 state runner up finish and multiple Southland Conference championships at Nicholls.

“I might not always have the craziest statistics, but the one percentage does matter. I’ve been on very successful programs, and I’ve contributed a lot even though it doesn’t show up in the stats. I’ve definitely contributed to a lot of championship teams, and I’ve been a part of that. Just the winning mentality I can bring to a team is something that is way more prestigious than some stats,” says former Nicholls Center Ryghe Lyons.

Last year, Ryghe Lyons averaged 7 points, 4 rebounds, and just under 2 blocks in 23 minutes a game.

Numbers expected from a big playing with a loaded Nicholls backcourt but there’s a side to Ryghe’s game that he and Coach Rory are building to fit the modern-day basketball mold.

“I want him to be able to play big minutes. I want him to be effective from the perimeter. Being able to make decisions on the pick and roll. The short rolls. The pick and pop, being able to consistently knock it down. I just want him to be an all-around basketball player. I told him I don’t want him to think position-wise, I want him to think skill-wise,” says Poplion.

Rory Poplion understands that to play big minutes on the pro level, both skill and stamina are needed.

With each training session, that’s what he and Ryghe focus on.

“When you’re on the court and you’re going each drill, he wants you going 100 miles per hour at all time just so you can get game reps. A lot of players today don’t work on game reps and that’s why a lot of workouts don’t translate to the game. A lot of things Rory works on in his drills, since the way he moves so fast with them, is something that easily translates to a game,” says Lyons.

Games and upcoming auditions.

As of right now, Ryghe Lyons has multiple pro basketball workouts lined up with the NBA’s Africa league and teams overseas.

Chances to both broaden his resume and live out his professional basketball dream.