2012 Intro: Tyler Lewis

How do you accurately measure the impact a player has on a game? A couple days at the GSK Holiday Invitational answered that question when it came to Tyler Lewis.

Upon first glance, some may be quick to overlook the sophomore from Lewisville (N.C.) Forsyth Country Day, who stands just under 5-foot-11 (up two inches in the last year) and 155 pounds.

In other words, if you're going to size Lewis up in pregame layup lines, he's unlikely to immediately grab your eye. The diminutive build and young features don't usually foreshadow a standout player, and you won't immediately see lightening speed or exceptional athleticism.

However, once the game begins, the preconceived notions fade and his abilities emerge. The impact he had in his two games at the holiday tournament could be measured in several ways.

His court command is immediately apparent. He's a floor general -- showcasing an elite understanding of the game -- running the offense and setting up teammates.

"My goal is to get a double-double in points and assists," Lewis said. "You've got to get everyone involved if you're a point guard."

His playmaking ability, including crafty scoring drives and assists, quickly won over a crowd of which most didn't know who he was when they entered the gym. His fearless attack of United Faith 7-footer Peter Jurkin for a three-point play brought the crowd to its feet.

"He sets the tone," said Forsyth Country Day head coach Craig Dawson, a former Wake Forest sharpshooter. "One thing he's done this year that a lot of people probably haven't noticed is that he's stepped up his defense quite a bit. He's a lot more vocal and he makes this team go. He brings toughness and a sense of urgency."

And his impact was evident in the statistics, despite facing superior opposing teams. Lewis posted 27 points and eight assists against West Charlotte - a showing that undoubtedly locked up his spot on the All-Tournament Team.

But perhaps the best evidence of his impact came from an opposing coach. West Charlotte's Baronton Terry had to center his team's entire defensive approach on Lewis, opting for physical, hands-on, double- and triple-teams.

"Initially we were going to play man, but ... the game plan became 'Keep the ball away from Tyler Lewis,'" Terry said. "He's remarkable - he got the ball despite two or three people guarding him. His passing was unreal. You've got to keep the ball out of his hands or at least work him. He was scoring, he was everywhere."

Such a customized defensive focus is apparently the norm this season for Lewis.

"Most of the teams this year play me box-and-one every game," Lewis said.

Opposing high schools aren't the only ones taking notice. Colleges have already caught on. Lewis has offers thus far from Virginia Tech, Auburn, Charlotte, VCU and Richmond. He camped at both NC State and Duke over the summer, and has received consistent interest from Wake Forest.

UNC assistant coach Jerod Haase was on-hand to watch Lewis' performance against West Charlotte.

"I noticed it," Lewis said of Haase's courtside presence. "It's a big opportunity to play in front of him ... Coming to see me play is a big honor. I hope they put me on the radar - I'd love to play there."

He's on UNC's radar to a certain extent already. The Tar Heel coaching staff invited Lewis to visit for this Sunday's game against Virginia Tech, so he'll be in attendance at the Smith Center.

The UNC coaches will continue to track Lewis's development to see how much he'll continue to elevate his game -- whether he'll reach the point of being capable of running the show at the highest level of college hoops.

"I think he's definitely a high major player," Dawson said. "Whatever system fits him best is what he'll choose, but there's no question in my mind that he can play high Division I basketball."

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