Workout 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 evening on the Barclays Center 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 approach has just been to attack each workout as they come and just get better and have fun when I do them,” he stated. “My love for the game helps me attack each and every day. It’s a tough process and my joy for the game helps me get better and I just keep trying to reach different goals in my life.”
One of his greatest targets going again to his childhood days is taking part in within the NBA, and he’s 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 Big East Most Improved Player and an All-Big 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. National consultants have him going anyplace from the late first spherical to the center of the second in mock drafts.
Thursday evening can’t come quickly sufficient for the Baltimore native.
“Now, the dream is almost a reality,” Lewis stated. “I don’t even know how to explain it — just an exciting feeling to finally see the work I’ve put in and the things I’ve done over all the years are starting to come in handy. It’s just exciting and it makes me want more because I feel the sky’s the limit right now.”
Marquette coach Shaka Smart, who guided the Golden Eagles to a 19-13 mark in his first season, stated Lewis’ progress as a participant and individual up to now 12 months places him on an important trajectory to make the leap to the NBA.
“What I told him and tell all the guys that go through the process is next Thursday is just the first step,” Smart stated throughout a information convention final Wednesday at Marquette. “It’s an enormous step, but it surely’s a state of affairs the place now it’s, ‘OK, I found out where I’m going, who I’m taking part in for and now it’s time to proceed that trajectory.’
“I’m excited for him. When you get to that level, obviously, the competition goes up, the expectations go up. He’s going to have a learning curve like anyone else, but he’s a great guy who has really grown. He’s very motivated, he’s been working his butt off, so I’m excited to follow what’s next for him.”
In his highschool years — first as a freshman at Calvert Hall, then his final three at Poly — Lewis confirmed his potential with a mix of measurement, talent and sport sense. Former Poly coach Sam Brand noticed one thing else in Lewis that went past the courtroom.
“I could tell he really wanted to be good,” Brand stated. “I believe a number of guys which might be tall play basketball and follow basketball as a result of they’re simply tall and folks need them to play. But Justin cherished the sport. He cherished making ready, he was at all times right here early.
“One of the separators that I saw early is I could tell he just enjoyed being in the gym. He liked to compete, he liked to practice and get shots up. He has the love for it and if you have the physical capability and the love, that’s what any coach dreams of.”
During Lewis’ time at Poly, the Engineers had been the crew to beat within the Baltimore City league. He helped cause them to two state titles (2017-18, 2018-19) and a 3rd was doubtless earlier than COVID-19 shut down his senior season earlier than the state semifinal spherical. Lewis was named The Baltimore Sun’s 2019-20 All-Metro co-Player of the Year after averaging 19.3 factors and 13.4 rebounds per sport.
Point guard Rahim Ali, who assisted on lots of the 1,374 profession factors Lewis scored at Poly, acquired a first-hand take a look at the fervour his shut buddy has for the sport of basketball.
“He’s blessed to be one of the ones to make it, and that’s great because he’s a special person and everything that was meant for him is coming to him. It’s wonderful,” Ali stated. “He loves the game. You can tell when somebody is faking it and being real about it, and he really loves it.”
Lewis credit the powerful grind and delight that’s hooked up to Baltimore basketball as a key think about his drive to succeed. The traits go in all places he goes.
“It has shaped me into the player I am,” he stated. “Seeing the toughness of all the guys before me and learning from them and just playing in the city league, you got to be tough. So I would say it helped me both mentally and physically.”
In rising because the Golden Eagles’ major scoring possibility final season, Lewis displayed versatility — together with an improved leap shot and deal with to go together with his established put up play — that makes him an intriguing NBA prospect. His size and skill to change on protection is one other asset.
Lewis goes into Thursday evening’s draft with self-confidence that’s a product of the work he has put in, but additionally with an understanding that there’s a lot extra to be taught.
“I’m getting criticized for certain things in my game right now but I know I’ll work on those things to get better,” he stated. “So it’s exciting more than it is getting down on myself because I know I’ll attack during the offseason and get better at those things.”
2022 NBA DRAFT
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN, Chs. 2, 7