The end of the recruiting process is fast approaching for St. Frances senior Greg Lewis.
Rivals.com's 14th-ranked center for the 2011 class took an official visit to Rutgers last weekend and plans to make a trip to South Florida before the end of the month. Maryland and Indiana are also involved with Lewis.
For Greg Lewis Sr., his son's high-profile recruitment has been – believe it or not – a bit of a surprise.
"Maybe it's because I still look at Greg like a little kid that's being evaluated," Lewis Sr. said Tuesday. "This summer, and looking at him now, I can see why. Prior to that, I didn't see all this coming. … I think that the buzz was out there, but we weren't sure if Greg was wanted because of his skills or because of his height. As far as recruiting, he's done a wonderful job this summer at camps, demonstrating his skills. Certain schools would come and visit to see exactly what he could do, and then the interest and buzz grew."The Lewis' trip to Piscataway, N.J., last weekend gave father and son a chance to get better acquainted with the Scarlet Knights' staff. Rutgers assistant David Cox, a former Georgetown assistant and D.C. Assault coach, had recruited Lewis for more than two years during his time with the Hoyas. But the family wasn't as familiar with Mike Rice, who enters his first season as Rutgers' coach after a successful stint at Robert Morris.
"The one thing I was impressed with was Mike Rice," Lewis Sr. said. "I think his sense of humor and his honesty especially stood out to me. And that allowed me to feel comfortable. … From a parent's perspective, the location is just two-and-a-half hours away from home, close enough but not [so close where you can] come home when you hit that wall as a freshman. Most important is the opportunity that was presented to Greg to play as a freshman. I think that's crucial when it comes to his development."
While an official visit hasn't been scheduled yet, the Lewis' plan to take a trip to South Florida soon. The Bulls' coaching staff, including Baltimore native and assistant coach Eric Skeeters, has always been a big draw for the Lewis family.
"I think with Coach Skeets and Coach Stan [Heath]… Greg will have an opportunity to play," Lewis Sr. said. "Of course, there's [Md. native Gus] Gilchrist down there. But it would be a good opportunity for Greg to play. I thought it was good for Greg, especially with [Bulls assistant coach Reggie Hanson], who's developing big men. Of course, I've had a relationship with Skeets for four years. He's been recruiting Greg for four years. And I think that's one of the things that kind of stood out with me was that he would be in South Florida, but because of the support system, I think I feel safe with him going down there, especially with Skeets being a Baltimore guy."
While Rutgers and South Florida have made it clear how much they want Lewis, interest from Indiana and Maryland is less certain. The Hoosiers were expected to send a staff member to St. Frances on Wednesday. Lewis Sr. said his son "has an interest" in IU, but they "were just wondering whether they would offer."
With regard to Maryland, Lewis Sr. said he hadn't heard much from the Terps this fall. A phone conversation with Maryland assistant coach Bino Ranson on Tuesday cleared up some confusion.
"He said that they have interest and they want Greg to come down," Lewis Sr. said. "They offered back in June. But they want him to come down. Recruiting Johnny O'Bryant (who committed to LSU last week) wasn't a reflection of not wanting Greg either. They wanted them both."
A decision on whether Lewis will attend Maryland Madness in College Park, or Indiana's Hoosier Hysteria in Bloomington on Friday, has yet to be determined.
Lewis Sr. said he expects a decision from his son in the next few weeks so he can sign during the fall period and concentrate on his senior season with the Panthers.
"Right now, I can't wait, but I want my son to make the best decision for him," Lewis Sr. said. "I want him to make the decision and sign so he can enjoy this year."
Baltimore Sun photo of Greg Lewis by Barbara Haddock Taylor / Jan. 31, 2010