CARON: The man behind the guy
His grey joggers clung to his ankles as his left foot tapped rapidly, expending what little energy he had left after practice. His long arms — warmed by a navy Virginia sweatshirt — rested across his abdomen as he leaned back in his seat. With his hair pulled back and his eyes bright, he looked at ease sitting in his home away from home — John Paul Jones Arena.
At six-foot-three, weighing nearly 170 pounds soaking wet and donning a man bun with its own Twitter page, freshman guard Kyle Guy is hard to miss. But what’s even harder to miss than his hallmark hairstyle is his smile. With every response, it brightens as his timid façade fades quickly. He lights up the room.
“I love the game, I love the people, this place,” Guy said. “Basketball is — it’s my niche.”
Born and bred in basketball country, Indiana, he’s a salt of the earth Indy boy turned Virginian. With five siblings, four parents and almost 32,000 Instagram followers, he’s a people person.
“He’s just a good guy to be around,” junior guard Devon Hall said. “He brings good energy to the team. He works hard, he’s learning, he’s adjusting and he’s having fun.”
His ever-expanding social media following coupled with his impressive showing on the court bring a lot of attention Guy’s way. A McDonald’s All-American, Indiana’s own Mr. Basketball, a highly touted recruit and now one of Virginia’s best shooters from the arc — each additional accolade augments attention. More success means more eyes on Guy.
But the spotlight hasn’t gotten to him and he knows who he is. He’s a basketball guy. He loves the game as much as he loves his family. He’s ambitious as an athlete and a student. He’s quick on his feet and with a joke. He’s a bowling fanatic and a Pizookie lover. He’s Kyle Guy.
“He’s just a funny kid — always clowning around even when he’s grinding,” Hall said. “He jokes around with everybody, he’s not uptight. He’s all smiles all the time.”
Guy’s personality and priorities are steadfast. His faith comes first and his family follows. Yes, basketball is his life, but it’s his family and faith that give him life. Without them, he wouldn’t be the Kyle Guy that Virginia has come to know.
“My faith is my number one, it’s the reason that I play,” Guy said. “My number two, my family, I try to be with all the time. They’re a huge drive for me. They’re why I want to make it with basketball, why I am who I am.”
His family is always by his side and on his jersey. He wears the number five in honor of his siblings, a reminder of the people he loves most. His family has helped him make his toughest choices and cheered him on every step of the way, no matter the distance. A smile emerges with every mention of them; a sincere happiness surfaces. The love, respect and appreciation he holds for their support is impossible to ignore.
“I think I can count on one hand how many games somebody hasn’t been at for me in my entire life, whether that was football, track or basketball — and I’ve played a lot of basketball games,” Guy said. “I’ve played very, very few games without them.”
When his family isn’t cheering him on from the sidelines, you can find them at the bowling alley. And when his family isn’t around, he takes his teammates.
“We always go bowling. Kyle loves it,” Hall said. “He’s really — like really — competitive. Maybe that’s what’s helped him have such a strong start on the court too, how competitive he is.”
Whether it’s his competitive spirit, his faith or his passion, something has lit a fire under Guy. He loves a challenge and Virginia poses just that, both on the court and in the classroom. For Guy, each challenge is a chance to grow and an opportunity to become better. These are the opportunities he jumps at.
“The physicality has been hard for sure, but I’ve tried to play with a chip on my shoulder,” Guy said. “I’m not letting the challenge affect me.”
As a freshman, he’s one of the Cavaliers’ top scorers. He’s knocking down big shots, making key plays and learning Tony Bennett’s dense pack-line defense. It’s clear that Guy isn’t discouraged by the difficulties he faces as he adjusts. He takes pride in his work ethic, finds purpose in his progress and contentment on the court.
“Every time I step onto the court there’s just something in the air. That’s what makes it special,” Guy said. “It’s the passion that I play with I think, why I’m always smiling.”