The nightly basketball sessions with his father in the offseason came with a purpose for Riley Lewis.
They were all part of the Williamston senior’s drive as he fights to prove his basketball skills and catch the eyes of college coaches.
“In about August (my dad and I) decided we were going to go to the gym every night, no matter what,” Lewis said. “We had been there every night until the season started. I was getting a lot of ‘Oh, he’s not that good. He goes to Williamston and they don’t play anybody.’ I kind of wanted to prove some people wrong and have a good senior season as a team, win games and put ourselves in a position to win the league four times and get out of the district.”
The 6-foot Lewis has made a strong statement in his quest for recruiting attention by starting his senior year on a tear. After averaging nearly 23 points a game as a junior, Lewis has upped his scoring this season while helping Williamston enter Tuesday’s contest at unbeaten East Lansing with a 4-1 mark.
Lewis is averaging 32.4 points, which includes a 42-point outburst during a victory over Troy Athens in last week’s Holiday Hoops Invitational. He’s scored at least 27 points in every game this season for the Hornets.
“He’s a four-year starter and miles and miles from where he was as a freshman,” Williamston coach Jason Bauer said of Lewis. “Going back to last year even, he’s made leaps and bounds. As a junior we were looking for him as a scorer and obviously he was. But this year we were looking for him as even more of a scorer and (he has been). If he gets double-teamed, he’s good at finding the open guy.”
Bauer has been a little surprised with the lack of college interest his floor general has received. Lewis said roughly 10 Division III and NAIA schools have been in contact with him, but none have offered.
“I’ve flown way under the radar,” Lewis said. “After the year I had (as a junior), I felt like I’d get some interest and then that didn’t happen. I’m just going to work and hopefully they will see that I can lead a team to victories and have a good season. Hopefully a couple of them come in.”
Bauer believes Lewis’ play has definitely warranted an opportunity at the next level.
“Anybody that can put up those kind of numbers should be getting more looks than that,” Bauer said. “I don’t care how small or how big you are, numbers speak for themselves. Even last year, he was seeing double teams and traps and all that kind of stuff and still put up almost 23 points per game. Riley just keeps his head up and keeps trying to get better every day and that’s the best you can do.
“Usually a lot of kids will get bitter about that or usually hang their heads, but Riley is a hard worker and he’s a gym rat. He’s in the gym hours and hours each day and trying to get better and trying to get that scholarship somewhere that I think he deserves.”