Chris Lewis: Junior Primer

Albeit more common now than it was in the past, it’s still relatively uncommon for a high-major talent such as Chris Lewis to commit to an Ivy program. But that’s exactly what Lewis will do, as he committed to Harvard last month.

How he got here

Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton has produced an outstanding number of top athletes over the years, particularly in football. But while Chris Lewis looks like a football player — and his father, Mo Lewis, starred for the New York Jets — he’ll make his way to college on the basis of hoops.

Well, even that statement is not entirely accurate. A better way to phrase it would be that Lewis will make his way to college on the basis of his academic credentials, financed by his basketball talent.

Lewis thrives on the basis of both brains and brawn

Lewis began to establish himself as a national talent last summer. He attended team camps at Mississippi State, Alabama and Furman, and he hit the travel circuit with the Atlanta Express 16-under squad.

I watched him on two occasions in Las Vegas, and his power and skill impressed each outing.

Following the summer Lewis’ recruitment continued to gain steam. By early 2015, he ultimately had claimed scholarship offers from California, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Miami, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Tennessee and others.

But Lewis was ready to end his recruitment. He announced for Ivy League beacon Harvard in mid-January, giving the Crimson a potential franchise big man in its conference.

To 2015. …

Lewis is a naturally big young athlete. We list him at 6-8, 240 pounds, making him sufficiently large for the college game already. He won’t be a weightroom project once he arrives at Harvard, and in fact the coaches must be careful to avoid bulking him up and causing him to lose flexibility.

He’s a slightly undersized center, but that’s okay for Harvard because it means he’ll likely become a four-year player. Moreover, the Crimson tend to recruit athletes who take their educations very seriously, enabling Harvard and other Ivies to build experienced squads over time.

Lewis scores effectively with his back to the basket thanks to his power, toughness and advanced footwork. He’s also very effective facing and taking one or two dribbles to shake free from opposing big men. He can step out and knock down short baseline jump shots as well, and he possesses outstanding reflexes for a player his size and body type.

Continuing to add shooting range will be key, as will honing his defensive technique and trying to improve his explosiveness around the basket.

Still, we’re talking about a high three star, potential four star talent who will be physically ready to go out of the box. Lewis was a tremendous pickup for Tommy Amaker’s strong program.

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