Former Xavier guard Mark Lyons committed to Arizona today, finishing the Wildcats’ 2012 recruiting efforts and giving them a veteran presence to help fill their void at point guard next season.

Lyons visited Arizona this weekend after taking a look at Kentucky last week, and he had also considered visiting Kansas. But Lyons said his visit went well and that he had a “great connection” with UA coaches that led to his sudden commitment.

Lyons, a third-team all-Atlantic 10 selection last season, was recruited to Xavier by  UA coach Sean Miller and spent a redshirt freshman year under him before Miller took over the Wildcats in April 2009.

“Honestly I knew I wanted to be at Arizona, but I had to make sure I gave it a fair shot,” Lyons told the Star today. “That was the great thing about me coming out here. It was great.”

Lyons said he spent time with UA coaches and players, especially guard Nick Johnson and wing Kevin Parrom, who was a Xavier signee who followed Miller to Arizona.

Lyons has one year of eligibility remaining, and will be expected to play point guard. The Wildcats lost point guard Josiah Turner to a transfer to SMU and have added former Duquesne point guard T.J. McConnell, but McConnell must sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules.

Lyons will not have to sit out next season if he graduates and enrolls as a a graduate student. Lyons said he has one remaining online course to take at Xavier and expects to finish it within two weeks, then arrive at UA in time for the first summer semester.

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball