Over the coming months, we’ll be interviewing players so that Indiana Lyons fans can get to know them a little better. To begin this series, we’re starting with Lyons shooting guard and co-captain, Mike Pugh.
Q: You grew up in Mississippi and went to Mississippi Valley State University. How did you end up in Indiana?
Mike: I have two kids, and they moved to Indiana about five years ago. I’d been back and forth overseas, playing international basketball since college, so I just wanted to grow more with them — be in their lives more since I was going back and forth all the time. I’m glad to be here. I’ve been here about two years now, and I’m getting accustomed to it. I’m happy to be here to be a part of the Lyons and to keep playing ball in the States.
Q: What drew you to the Indiana Lyons?
Mike: Coach [Tyrone] Brown actually saw me two years ago in the YMCA in Avon, and he was trying to convince me to come to tryouts. At first, I wasn’t really going to try out, but I ended up going, and I was one of the first people to try out. When I walked through the door, Coach Brown gave me an ABA t-shirt. For me, it wasn’t about the t-shirt, but more about the professionalism of the team. So I went on to try out, and I’ve been a part of the organization ever since.
Q: What does it mean to you to be co-captain of the team?
Mike: Being captain comes with a lot of responsibility. They wouldn’t just pick anybody to lead a team of this magnitude. I just try to walk it like I talk it and try to set a good example by just being me. I try to lead on and off the court. I try to pull the guys together to form a brotherhood that plays harder for each other on the court and takes care of each other off the court as well.
Q: Where do you live now?
Mike: I live right outside of Avon in a nice quiet neighborhood. It’s pretty cool and laid back. I like it.
Q: Do you have a significant other in your life?
Mike: I’m single right now. I’ve been focusing on my kids and playing ball. Now if a nice young lady comes by, then that’s fine, but right now, I’m focusing on basketball, trying to win an ABA championship starting with this game on Saturday [March 7, 2020] against the Chicago Fury. We want to start by bringing the North Central Region championship to our fans, and from there on, we’ll just take it one game at a time in the ABA playoffs.
Q: What do you think the key is to beating the Chicago Fury this weekend?
Mike: The key is to keep our composure. Don’t play their game. Just play our game. We’re one of the best teams in the nation, hands down, and I’ve said that through the course of the season. We’ve really grown together as a team and built chemistry, and we’re peaking at the right time. So to beat the Fury, we just have to stay physical, play our game, our tempo, and just control the game. If we do that, we’ll come out on top.
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Mike: It’s all about preparation for me. It’s starts on Sunday. For the whole week, I have to prepare myself, prepare my mind, make sure I get my workouts in, and get my proper rest. The day before a game, I really like to take my son out to eat because that’s something that we do. Then if he has a basketball game, I like to watch him play before I play that weekend. His team just won a championship, so his season is over now, but it’s kind of a superstition for me — if I don’t take my son out to eat, I don’t play right.
Q: Who’s the funniest guy on the team?
Mike: Ah, man, that’s a hard question! We’ve got several of those. I would have to say Jermaine [Harris]. He’s just a funny guy, period. Cam [Gerald Campbell] is pretty silly. Scootee [Darryl Walker], too. Everyone on the team’s got a personality, so we’re all pretty down-to-earth and pretty silly.
Q: Who talks the most trash on the court?
Mike: That’s gotta be me. Cam and Lleon [Tillman], too, depending on the magnitude of the game.
Q: In a race from one end of the court to the other, who comes in first, second, and third?
Vince Hill, immediately: Mike comes in first.
Mike: Yeah, for sure. I’d come in first. Cam would probably come in second [Vince agrees]. Vince or Scootee would probably be third.
Vince: Hey, you forgot about Jordan [Hidleburg].
Mike: Oh yeah! I forgot about Jordan! Yeah, nah, he ain’t beating me! He might come in #1 at some point when I get tired, but not until then.
To view Mike Pugh’s player page, click here.