St. Frances' Greg Lewis headed to Rutgers
Relationships built years ago made all the difference in the recruitment of Greg Lewis.
The 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward from St. Frances enjoyed learning from Mike Rice at Hoop Group basketball camps earlier in his playing career. And Lewis bonded with former D.C. Assault coach David Cox when he was an assistant at Georgetown.
Today Rice is the head coach at Rutgers, while Cox serves as his top assistant. On Friday night, thanks in large part to the relationships he built with Rice and Cox, Lewis became Rutgers’ newest commitment.
“I was always interested in Rutgers,” Lewis said Saturday. “But once [Rice] got the job, that took it to another level. My relationship with Coach Rice -- I always knew he was a good coach with a passion for the game. That kind of matched my attitude, so I knew we would click. ... I’ve known [Cox] for about three years. Our relationship got stronger once he got to Rutgers."
Lewis’ pledge gives Rutgers seven commitments for its 2011 class. Every Scarlet Knights recruit – including Lewis – is rated three stars or higher by Rivals.com. While Lewis will be joined by a lot of young talent, the Rutgers coaches told him that they are counting on him to contribute immediately.
“They’re expecting me to play a lot of minutes for them and to be a defensive presence, and also just be helpful on the offensive end as well,” said Lewis, who also considered Maryland and South Florida.
Nick Myles, St. Frances’ athletic director, doesn’t think Lewis will have any problems adjusting to college. Off the court, Myles expects Briana Hutchen -- a former Panthers star and now freshman guard for the Scarlet Knights’ women’s team -- to help Lewis acclimate to Piscataway, N.J. On the court, Myles expects the Rutgers staff to integrate Lewis into the rotation the minute he steps on campus.
“They’re expecting him to play about 15, 20 minutes a game,” Myles said. “They run an open offense where they can utilize his skill set. He’s a very skilled kid. They will allow him to step away from the basket and shoot his mid-range jumper. They’re looking for him to rebound and play aggressive, and really use everything he likes doing within their offense.”
Myles has worked with Lewis in his role as an assistant coach throughout the past three seasons at St. Frances, witnessing noticeable improvements each step of the way. Myles sees no reason why that wouldn’t continue at the next level.
“He’s a kid that definitely puts in the work outside,” Myles said. “To be good at that level, you’ve got to be putting in work outside practice. You can’t just go with what you’re doing in the season. He’s the kind of kid who loves the game. He’s really going to do well. It’s a good place where he has a chance to play from the start. I think that will definitely improve him. No experience beats game experience.”
With the fall signing period fast approaching, Lewis said making his commitment to Rutgers took “a lot of pressure off” his back. Competing for Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA A Conference championships is next on Lewis’ agenda, but the allure of seeing minutes in the Big East as a freshman looms.
“I just liked the opportunity Rutgers had,” Lewis said. “I know it’s just a big chance for me to go there and develop. For me, it was all about the opportunity.”
Baltimore Sun photo of Greg Lewis by Barbara Haddock Taylor / Jan. 31, 2010