Gamecocks getting into mix for 2012 PG

Most kids don't get a lot of early interest as freshmen and sophomores in high school, but 2012 Lewisville, NC point guard Tyler Lewis' recruitment has been as unique as him.

Lewis is one of the truer point guards coming through the high school ranks, but there are a lot of questions that surround the 2012 recruit in terms of his small stature.

"Once you get out on the court and people are doubting you because you look unathletic, you have to show them that you are athletic and that you can play," the 5-foot-10 guard said.

That's something that Lewis has been dealing with, but almost every time he steps on the court, he's known to "wow" the crowd.

"Tyler's a special individual. He's a point guard that sees the court like no other," said Ty White, the AAU coach of Team Loaded – the team Lewis will be running with when AAU season hits. "He has a high basketball IQ and understands the game way beyond his age. He can stroke the trey-ball, and he finishes in traffic. He uses both hands well and has a very high assists-to-turnover ratio."

Those gifts and ability has landed Lewis a lot of interest, despite his small stature.

"(Recruiting has) been going pretty good," Lewis said. "I have a couple of schools that have already offered."

Lewis' first offer came from Virginia Tech during his freshman year. Today, the sophomore holds offers from Auburn, VCU, High Point, Richmond, Appalachian State and Charlotte. He also has interest from South Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida and Virginia.

Lewis has close ties to Wake Forest and Charlotte. His coach freshman year at Forsyth Country Day (N.C.) was former Wake Forest standout Rusty LaRue — who has since taken an assistant job at Wake Forest — and his current coach, Craig Dawson, is also a former Wake Forest player.

"That plays a big factor," said Lewis of LaRue being a coach at Wake Forest. "And my high school coach played at Wake too. So they've been recruiting me hard."

With Charlotte, his older brother plays there. Lewis' father, Rick, is convinced that the 2012 prospect will grow like his older brother as well, who ended up being 6-1.

"I want to go somewhere I can play to my best ability and win," Lewis said. "But I'm really close to my brother."

Lewis is in no hurry to make a decision as he knows it's still early, so he has no favorite at this point.

"It feels good," he said of the recruiting process. "Not a lot of people get looked at as a sophomore. It's just an early start to the recruiting stage."

Lewis does admit his fondness for the Gamecocks and his love of the South Carolina coaches.

"I like South Carolina a lot," he said. "I feel like they'll be a pretty good team in the future, and they just keep getting better."

Lewis knows first-hand the type of job the South Carolina staff is doing with recruiting as they were front and center at almost all of his AAU games. Between him and his teammate with the Carolina Flight Anthony Gill, they kept the staff busy.

Gill, a 2011 big man, ended up getting an offer and soon after committed to the Gamecocks. However, Gill and Lewis will square off for the first time as high school foes tonight.

"I'm really close with A.G.," Lewis said. "It'll be fun playing against him. I'm going to try my best to get to victory to have the bragging rights."

"I think it'll be fun out there playing with him even though we won't be friends on the court," said Gill, whose Charlotte Christian team is 3-0 to start the season.

Lewis' team has played a little tougher schedule and enters the game 5-2, with Lewis leading the way averaging about 24 points and eight assists.

"I look forward to being able to be his coach this year and develop his game a little more. His upside is tremendous," White said of his rising star at point guard. "Every time I've seen him, he's getting a little bit more athletic.

"He's deceptively quick. He'll get bigger and stronger. He'll put you in the mind-frame of John Stockton and Steve Nash. I'm sure people passed on those guys with preconceived notions and are regretting it now."

Lewis thinks the Gamecock staff will reach out to him and not be one of those schools regretting not taking him.

"I think they might offer," he said, "but they're just worried about my size and my athletic ability."

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