Tyler Lewis The Recruiter

Hampton, Va. -- Tyler Lewis and Team Loaded were unable to win the 2011 Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest, but the NC State commitment did his part by putting his team in contention.

Tyler Lewis and Team Loaded were unable to win the 2011 Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest, but the NC State commitment did his part by putting his team in contention.

Team Loaded went 3-1 in the tournament, losing in the quarterfinals by one point to the Fairfax All-Stars. Lewis averaged 31 points and nine assists, but it wasn't enough.

"We played well, but we came up short," said Lewis following his team's quarterfinal loss. "We can definitely play better. It was an early morning game and we struggled some to start and they had a big run early in the second half that was hard to come back from.

"I know that playing in these tournaments gets me prepared for the next level. I can see what I need to work on and see what my strengths are. The biggest thing I've learned is you can't take anyone for granted and you have to go out and play hard every game if you want to win.

It also hurt that Team Loaded was playing without its other high-major player, shooting guard Andrew White. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard suffered a hip pointer a couple of weeks back in a tournament and has yet to fully recover. Without White, Loaded lacked another consistent scorer lining up alongside Lewis.

"It was definitely tough not having Andrew," said Lewis. "He's a Top 100 player in the country. When you don't have a scorer like that it's tough because it puts more on your shoulders and other guys have to step up.

"We relied on Andrew a lot in Pittsburgh to make shots and get us out of hard situations. He came through for us. We could have used it this week, but I think he'll be back playing for us soon."

Lewis stood out with the consistency he displayed throughout the event. Teams would try different matchups on him and switch up defenses, but it didn't really matter as he consistently worked his way into the lane and either hit shots or found open teammates.

A big part of his success has been his ability to create contact and finish plays while also earning free throw opportunities. Lewis, who has added over 10 pounds to his 5-foot-11 frame, says the extra strength pays off on the court.

"Right now I'm about 168," he said. "I've been trying to hit the weight room everyday, really working hard. I've been drinking a lot of protein, trying to get my weight up.

"I definitely feel it on the court. On the defensive end I'm able to stay in front of people easier. I can body them up more instead of being pushed around. Offensively, when I drive the lane I can take body contact and finish a lot better. It's going to help me out... I want to keep putting the weight on."

Lewis, NC State's only commitment in the 2012 class, is rated the No. 8 point guard in the country and the No. 56 player overall by Scout.com. Whether it is on Twitter, Facebook, or through phone calls and text messages, Lewis is trying his best to bring some talent with him to Raleigh.

Right now he appears to be working on Raleigh (NC) Upper Room shooting guard Rodney Purvis, a consensus top-10 prospect who recently backed out of his commitment to Louisville and is seriously considering the Wolfpack. Purvis and Lewis have known each other for a long time, having played together on the AAU circuit, and Lewis considers him to be a good friend.

"I would love to play with Rodney," said Lewis. "He's just so athletic and so good... he's definitely a top player in our class. He is such good teammate too... he just wants to win.

"I talk to Rodney all the time. I text him like every day... even when he was committed to Louisville we talked. We've been good friends for a long time, and I'm just trying to get him over to State now so we can have a strong backcourt come in together.'

"Landing Rodney would help us out with the recruiting process," Lewis added. "A lot more positive exposure for NC State, and it could even maybe help with some other recruits. It would be big to get him."

Next up for Lewis and Team Loaded is an event in Richmond, Virginia this weekend and a trip to the triangle for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions over Memorial Day weekend.

Pack Pride Top Stories