A Q&A With Wendell Lewis

Mississippi State sophomore basketball player Wendell Lewis, now 6-9 and 250+ pounds, talks about how he has improved since his freshman season and what role he believes he will have on this year's basketball team.

You were here last summer but it was all new to you then. How has this summer been different compared to last summer?
Wendell Lewis - "This summer I'm trying to work on my game, work on my outside game like my shot. I'm also working on my ball-handling. And I'm still working on my post moves at the same time.

"We've also kind of stepped it up in the weight room and on the court. We are doing different things than we did last summer. This year is kind of harder because (Richard Akins) has stepped it up."

What is different that makes it harder?
"In the weight room we are doing more things than we did last year."

Why has he stepped it up?
"He's trying to get us stronger, quicker, faster so we'll be ready for this year."

What is your current height and weight?
"I'm 6-9 and weigh 251 or 252. When we first started lifting weights I was 257, but I lost 4 or 5 pounds pretty quick."

You came in last year at 245, so you haven't gained a lot of additional weight, but do you see a difference in your strength?
"Yeah, there is a huge difference. The weights, the running, the time you have to put in the gym."

Strength-wise, how much have you improved? Is there a lift that you can use as a reference to show how much stronger you have gotten?
"This year, I went up a lot on my weight. Last year, on the bench press I think I maxed out at something like 225. This year, I think I maxed out at 275."

For a guy your size 225 isn't a lot of weight. Did you not lift much in high school?
"I didn't take it as seriously in high school but I lifted. But I didn't lift to get that much stronger. I just lifted enough."

You mentioned that you maxed out at 275. What weight do you normally work with on a regular basis?
"Now, I work with 185. At the beginning of June we lifted 5 sets of 10. I was at 165 then. We go up (in weight) each week."

That weight might not sound like much but when you do 5 sets of 10 that's a lot, isn't it?
"Yeah, that fourth set is tough."

Getting back to your game on the court, what will MSU fans see from you offensively and defensively?
"This year I will be a lot better than what I was last year. I'm going to be a little more active than what I was last year. Coming in last year as a freshman, learning and playing at the same time was difficult. I was having to think on the court. This year, now that I have that experience, I feel I will be pretty good on the court."

When you play pickup games this summer, are your trying to use what you learned last year in the pickup games? What I'm getting at are you able to do things without having to think about them, whereas last year you were still thinking about things instead of simply doing them naturally?
"Yeah, when we play pickup games I'll set a pick screen. Last year when I set a pick I had to think about it. Now, it is automatic."

So, you can play full speed now?
"Yeah, I'm going full speed. Last year I had to slow down while I was thinking about it. But since I've done it so much as a freshman, it's like snapping my finger now."

Offensively, what will be your style of play? Will you be a banger inside or will you play with your back to the basket?
"I'm going to do a little of both. Lately, I'm been working on my face-up game, but mostly I've been working with my back to the basket because I wasn't that good at it last year."

When I think of a someone that is 6-9, 250 I think of a guy who should be a pretty good rebounder. Rebounding-wise, where do you see yourself fitting on this year's team?
"I think I will do pretty good rebounding. Last year, I learned how to box out and position myself to get a rebound. But this year I know how to do it, so it is going to be easier."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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