COLLEGE PARK -- In terms of height, Cedric Lewis stopped being Derrick Lewis' little brother during his junior year in high school. But from the standpoint of basketball ability, the current University of Maryland center has long fallen in the shadows of the former Terrapins star.
"I kind of felt that pressure wherever I went," Cedric Lewis said yesterday. "When I went to the Olympic Festival in North Carolina a couple of years ago, people were saying, 'That's Derrick's little brother.' A lot of people still refer to me that way. I don't mind."
Until recently, there were few comparisons made between the two brothers in terms of their Maryland careers. At 6 feet 7 and 195 pounds, Derrick Lewis was a defensive force right from the beginning, breaking the school record for blocks as a freshman. He finished as the school's No. 1 shot-blocker and second-leading rebounder behind Len Elmore.
But Derrick Lewis also emerged as a terrific low-post offensive player during his last two years at Maryland. It wasn't until last week -- six games into his senior year -- that Cedric Lewis showed similar talents, when he scored a career-high 21 points in a 93-79 victory over the University of California-Irvine.
"Cedric's a lot more confident this year, for one thing," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose 3-3 Terps will play their first game in 11 days when they meet Lafayette (2-4) today at Cole Field House (1 p.m.). "We know that he's not going to score 20 points every game, but we'd like to see him in double figures."
Lewis, who is 2 inches taller and nearly 35 pounds heavier than his older brother, has produced more offensively (11.3 points a game) this season than anyone had expected. He also has put up some pretty impressive numbers in rebounds (10.5) and blocks (4.3), albeit against weaker competition than he will face in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"I'm more relaxed than I was last year," said Lewis, who is third in the country in blocks, behind 7-6 freshman Shawn Bradley of Brigham Young and 7-2 Dikembe Mutombo of Georgetown. "Last year Tony [Massenburg] and Jerrod [Mustaf] took up most of the scoring inside. I'll do whatever comes naturally. Against Cal-Irvine, I was in the right place at the right time."
That Cedric Lewis didn't turn out to be as good a player as Derrick shouldn't surprise anybody, since it isn't a shock to the rest of the family. Bobby Lewis, who played at Elizabeth City (N.C.) State during the late 1960s, remembers sending his sons to the basement of their Temple Hills home to work on basketball-related skills.
"I would go down and Cedric would be flying a toy airplane or banging on a tin can we made into a drum," the elder Lewis said yesterday. "He was always different from Derrick. Derrick was very serious. Ced just did what he wanted to do."
But Bobby Lewis has begun to notice a change in the younger of his two sons. It was evident last summer, when Cedric Lewis started shooting 200 free throws a day to improve a 46 percent career average, and working out against Derrick, now playing his second professional season in France.
And it was also obvious in the way Lewis became more interested in his education, and his life after basketball. With both of his parents teachers in Washington, education has been stressed. But academics always have been something of a struggle for Cedric Lewis, who would like to be a child guidance counselor when he graduates this summer.
"I just want to be a positive role model to the younger kids," said Lewis, who recently interned at his mother's school.
For now, though, and for the rest of the season, Lewis would like to be a positive influence for his teammates. If he keeps up his current pace, Cedric Lewis has a shot at breaking Derrick's single-season record of 114 blocks.
"I feel I have to do something to help this team," said Cedric Lewis. "If I block five shots in a game, that's 10 points I've stopped the other team from scoring. I'll do whatever I can."
NOTES: Sophomore Kevin Chamberlain, a little-used forward, has returned home to Atlanta and is expected to enroll at a smaller school in the area. He reportedly has been offered a scholarship at Morehouse College, a Division II school.