Empire State Of Mind
Published by Gilbert Muako on November 30, 2010
Nick Lewis is enjoying the New York Life style.
The Scarborough native made the move to continue his hoop career south of the border, joining a growing trend of Canadians that have elected to leave home in hopes of accomplishing their basketball goals.
Lewis has made a quick adjustment to living in the Big Apple, and the similarities between the city and Scarborough is a big reason why.
“Living in New York is not that different from home,” he said. “The area of my school isn’t as urban as it is back home. Sports is big in New York so everyone is always pushing me to work harder and get better at playing basketball; ballers from New York go really hard.”
The prep route has seen both success stories not-so-great experiences for many Canadian kids that tried to pursue that route. In Lewis’ case, it’s been going great so far and he’s having a great time attending Our Savior New America school in Centereach, NY.
He likes where he is right now and feels like he is able to work more intently on his goals. “I’ve been working harder then I have before, especially when it comes to the books because I don’t have any distractions [around me],” Lewis said. “Leaving [home] to play ball in the south has helped me realize that it’s more then just a game.
“I get in the gym more because there’s less things to do, no distractions and I just find myself putting in that extra work.”
Lewis, who formerly attended Pope John Paul II in Scarborough, had his share of success on the Canadian basketball scene before heading south. He’s won gold at Canada games with Team Ontario U15, bronze with Team Ontario U17 and picked up another bronze medal representing Canada as a starting member of the Cadet team two summers ago, proving he could play with the best his country had to offer.
The 6-foot-2, 170 pound, class of 2012 combo guard has great bounce to his game with very good overall athleticism. He can knock shots down from outside and is an excellent defender but agrees that there are grey areas in his game that needs attention – especially because of his size. “Right now I’m working on everything, but the main thing I’m working on right now is becoming a true point guard,” Lewis said. “I’m trying to become more of a leader and work on my handle a lot more [as well as my] jumper off the dribble. “I’ve been in the gym putting in extra work, I’ve been in the weight room a lot too so that I can add more strength, size and speed into my game.”
It’s always tough for a teenager to leave home and Lewis is no exception. The point guard misses home but understands that if he wants to be greater at what he does he must sacrifice some of the comforts of home, including the love and support of his mother.“On a daily basis my biggest motivation is my mom,” he said. “Growing up, I didn’t have a lot and my mom has done everything for me especially for basketball. She motivates me everyday to become a better person and a better basketball player.
“I know she would love to be at every single one of my games but she can’t. I always let her know what’s going on [and I’m going to] miss her yelling at the refs when they make a bad call.”
This past summer was pretty successful for Lewis playing on the on AAU circuit with CIA Bounce/ Team Take Over Canada. His strong contribution on the team has led to some well-deserved attention from Division 1 schools such as Detroit, Jacksonville, Elon, East Carolina, Youngsotwn and North Dakota.
Lewis has enough time till graduation to increase the list of schools after him. He will only use his time in New York to increase his level of play and create, as he puts it, “a better opportunity to become that next player to do something big out of Canada.”
3 so far