Monday afternoon was already a good one for Poly sophomore basketball star Justin Lewis, who was happy to still be practicing as the No. 4 Engineers prepare for their Class 3A state semifinal game Thursday at Maryland’s Xfinity Center.
As it turned out, it got even better when a visitor showed up. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was on hand and asked Lewis, a four-star prospect, whether he would like to make the building his permanent home in a couple of years.
Turgeon offered the 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward a scholarship to play for the Terps.
Lewis, a Calvert Hall transfer who is averaging 17 points and 11.6 rebounds this season, has also drawn interest from Kansas State, Georgia Tech and Boise State, among other schools.
But getting love from the big home-state school and having the head coach show it was something much more special for Lewis, who had his parents and younger sister there to enjoy the occasion.
“I was very excited. It’s really good getting offered by Maryland because I kind of worked my way to it,” Lewis said. “With [Turgeon] showing up, I just wanted to do my best and not mess up, and I kind of did that. We had a good practice and my teammates gave me encouragement.”
In addition to his dominant inside play, Lewis has developed a complete game with good outside shooting range, and the ability to handle the ball and distribute. Poly coach Sam Brand noted Lewis has five or more assists five times this season.
“His growth has been very fast and I think a big part of it is his confidence in his diverse skill set,” Brand said “In today’s game, it’s a lot more positionless and guys have to do multiple things. Justin is growing into a guy that can do a lot while still being a big physical presence. He impacts a game in so many different ways. So he’s been embracing his size and strength, and being comfortable impacting with his skill.”