Exercise after exercise in metropolis after metropolis, Justin Lewis has welcomed the grind as he will get nearer to realizing his dream.
In preparation of the 2022 NBA draft, set to happen Thursday night time on the Barclays Heart in Brooklyn, New York, the previous Poly and Marquette basketball star attended the NBA scouting mix final month in Chicago and has since labored out for greater than a dozen franchises
For the 20-year-old Lewis, who declared for the draft after his sensational sophomore season at Marquette, this demanding time has been a labor of affection.
“My strategy has simply been to assault every exercise as they arrive and simply get higher and have enjoyable after I do them,” he stated. “My love for the sport helps me assault every day. It is a powerful course of and my pleasure for the sport helps me get higher and I simply hold making an attempt to achieve totally different objectives in my life.”
One in every of his greatest objectives going again to his childhood days is enjoying within the NBA, and he is on the verge of creating it occur. As a sophomore at Marquette, the 6-foot-7, 240-pound ahead averaged a team-high 16.8 factors and seven.9 rebounds and was named Large East Most Improved Participant and an All-Large East first-team choice.
He stated the work he put in going into the season and the numerous strides he made throughout it pushed him to show professional. Nationwide specialists have him going anyplace from the late first spherical to the center of the second in mock drafts.
Thursday night time cannot come quickly sufficient for the Baltimore native.
“Now, the dream is sort of a actuality,” Lewis stated. “I do not even know how one can clarify it — simply an thrilling feeling to lastly see the work I’ve put in and the issues I’ve performed over all of the years are beginning to come in useful. It is simply thrilling and it makes me need extra as a result of I really feel the sky is the restrict proper now.”
Marquette coach Shaka Good, who guided the Golden Eagles to a 19-13 mark in his first season, stated Lewis’ progress as a participant and individual prior to now 12 months places him on an excellent trajectory to make the leap to the NBA.
“What I informed him and inform all the blokes that undergo the method is subsequent Thursday is simply step one,” Good stated throughout a information convention final Wednesday at Marquette. “It is an enormous step, nevertheless it’s a scenario the place now it is, ‘OK, I came upon the place I am going, who I am enjoying for and now it is time to proceed that trajectory.’
“I am excited for him. Once you get to that degree, clearly, the competitors goes up, the expectations go up. He will have a studying curve like anybody else, however he is an excellent man who has actually grown. He is very motivated, he is been working his butt off, so I am excited to observe what’s subsequent for him.”
In his highschool years — first as a freshman at Calvert Corridor, then his final three at Poly — Lewis confirmed his potential with a mixture of measurement, ability and recreation sense. Former Poly coach Sam Model noticed one thing else in Lewis that went past the courtroom.
“I might inform he actually needed to be good,” Model stated. “I believe loads of guys which might be tall play basketball and persist with basketball as a result of they’re simply tall and folks need them to play. However Justin cherished the sport. He cherished making ready, he was at all times right here early.
“One of many separators that I noticed early is I might inform he simply loved being within the fitness center. He favored to compete, he favored to observe and get pictures up. He has the love for it and if in case you have the bodily functionality and the love, that is what any coach desires of.”
Throughout Lewis’ time at Poly, the Engineers have been the workforce to beat within the Baltimore Metropolis league. He helped cause them to two state titles (2017-18, 2018-19) and a 3rd was seemingly earlier than COVID-19 shut down his senior season earlier than the state semifinal spherical. Lewis was named The Baltimore Solar’s 2019-20 All-Metro co-Participant of the 12 months after averaging 19.3 factors and 13.4 rebounds per recreation.
Level guard Rahim Ali, who assisted on most of the 1,374 profession factors Lewis scored at Poly, obtained a first-hand take a look at the fervour his shut buddy has for the sport of basketball.
“He is blessed to be one of many ones to make it, and that is nice as a result of he is a particular individual and every part that was meant for him is coming to him. It is fantastic,” Ali stated. “He loves the sport. You possibly can inform when any person is faking it and being actual about it, and he actually loves it.”
Lewis credit the powerful grind and satisfaction that is connected to Baltimore basketball as a key consider his drive to succeed. The traits go all over the place he goes.
“It has formed me into the participant I’m,” he stated. “Seeing the toughness of all the blokes earlier than me and studying from them and simply enjoying within the metropolis league, you bought to be powerful. So I might say it helped me each mentally and bodily.”
Get the newest highschool sports activities tales, pictures and video from across the area.
In rising because the Golden Eagles’ main scoring possibility final season, Lewis displayed versatility — together with an improved bounce shot and deal with to go along with his established submit play — that makes him an intriguing NBA prospect. His size and skill to change on protection is one other asset.
Lewis goes into Thursday night time’s draft with self-confidence that is a product of the work he has put in, but additionally with an understanding that there is a lot extra to be taught.
“I am getting criticized for sure issues in my recreation proper now however I do know I am going to work on these issues to get higher,” he stated. “So it is thrilling greater than it’s getting down on myself as a result of I do know I am going to assault throughout the offseason and get higher at these issues.”
2022 NBA DRAFT
Barclays Heart, Brooklyn, NY
Thursday, 7:30 pm
TV: ESPN, Chs. 2, 7