Bloomington – Broderick Lewis had opportunities…just not the right opportunities.
The 6-5, 210-pound forward from West Lafayette Jefferson H.S. said he had scholarship offers from Ball State, Indiana State, Butler and Oakland in the fall. But he decided to let the early signing period come and go, hoping a bigger and better opportunity would come along.
"I wanted to wait it out because I wanted something different," Lewis said.
This spring, he found something different. Lewis passed on a handful of Division II and junior college offers and recently accepted a spot on the IU roster as a preferred walk-on, joining Kory Barnett, Daniel Moore and Brett Finkelmeier in that role on IU's 2008-09 roster.
Indiana first got involved with Lewis thanks to a previous relationship between IU Assistant Coach Tim Buckley and Lafayette Jeff Coach Scot Bunnell. Before taking over the Lafayette Jeff program in 2005 Bunnell had spent seven years as an assistant coach at Ball State, including the final five as a member of Buckley's staff.
After identifying Lewis as a potential late addition to the roster, the IU staff looked at film, talked to other coaches around the state, and eventually offered him a chance to be a preferred walk-on. Lewis spent a day in Bloomington approximately two weeks ago on an unofficial visit, and accepted IU's offer.
An athletic forward who also stars in the long jump on his prep track and field team, Lewis averaged 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds last season to help Lafayette Jeff to a 23-2 mark, a No. 2 ranking in the state polls, and a sectional title. He's expected to play on the frontcourt at IU, giving the Hoosiers some desperately-needed depth on the frontline.
"They said they see me as a 3/4 position, like they ran at Marquette," said Lewis, who has the wing span of someone who stands 6-9 1/2. "They said they like my athleticism, my size, my athleticism for my size, and my ability to rebound. I know they're looking for players to fit different roles on the team, and they said I fit some of their roles."
While Lewis is set to be a Hoosier, he comes from a Purdue family. Lewis' father, Dwight, is a former Purdue football player and track athlete, while his mother, Deborah, works in Purdue's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. But he's no stranger to Bloomington since his uncle, Bryant Lewis, spent 18 years as an athletic trainer at IU and still lives in Bloomington.
The chance to be around his uncle was appealing, but so was the chance to play for IU Coach Tom Crean, who made an impact on Lewis during his visit.
"It was the first time meeting him when I was there for my unofficial visit and I was definitely impressed," Lewis said. "He's a great guy. He's very sharp and knows what he's talking about. I can't wait to play for him."
Lewis figures to get that chance sooner rather than later. While securing playing time can be a challenge for a walk-on, Indiana's roster situation figures to give Lewis every opportunity to make an immediate impact.
"That was definitely one of the deciding factors for me, but there's also no guarantee that I can play right away," Lewis said. "You have to put in hard work and see what happens."
Lewis Finds What He Was Looking For at IU
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