ATLANTA – Scottie Lewis has always been capable of seeing the bigger picture.
The Ranney School senior knew that by being selected for Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game, he would have the opportunity to work out four times for the approximately 100 NBA personnel here this week. Those four workouts, between Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, were more important than the actual game, a 115-100 East win, which was often a loose, defense-free live scrimmage.
Lewis, a Florida commit and the projected No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, took full advantage of the situation.
“I think he’s really athletic, explosive, and he changes ends very well,” one NBA scout told USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey. “I think the fact he played so hard bodes well. He’s a plus-athlete, he gets to the rim and he finishes very well. I think he has a bright future.”
“An excellent athlete whose greatest value might be on the defensive end,” a second NBA scout told the Network. “We know he had to defend bigger players at the high school level, but he’s shown this week he can be effective against point guards and wings, too.”
On Monday afternoon, after he and his East teammates finished up their second workout of the week, Lewis admitted to nerves on Sunday as the week began, knowing who was watching. Those nerves faded, and on Tuesday afternoon, he essentially put a capper on his week, turning in a strong showing in a closed-door scrimmage, open only to the NBA scouts and player families.
The closed scrimmage at Wheeler High School, where Lewis went viral during the Powerade Jam Fest slam-dunk contest on Monday, is considered by the NBA folks as the most important part of their week.
“I thought he looked pretty good,” said Givony, who was at Wheeler on Tuesday. “He was aggressive, he played strong defense, he looked for his shot and was able to convert. He’s had a really good week of practice and that continued in the scrimmage.
“It’s always good to make a strong first impression because a lot of these guys have never seen him before. They’re going to use this as a baseline for their evaluations moving forward. He’s going to be pretty high on their list when they start putting together their schedules for next season. When they start deciding where the GM is going to scout, and the assistant GM will scout and all that.”
“This guy has the chance to crack the Top 10 in our final rankings,” ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi said during Wednesday night’s broadcast. “I would not be surprised to see him playing in the NBA one day because he’s had a great senior season, he’s impressed here.”
While Lewis garnered a lot of buzz this week, Bryan Antoine is in a similar situation. A McDonald’s All-American with a high early draft projection (No. 10 in 2020, per Givony) and the opportunity to make an impression on decision-makers before he heads to Villanova this summer.
Antoine, like Lewis, needs to take any momentum gained this week and use it moving forward. Lewis is slated to play for Team USA at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland on April 12, while Antoine was selected for the Iverson Classic on April 24 at Souderton Area High School outside Philadelphia. Both events are open to NBA personnel.
“Bryan has had a quiet week of practice, but I thought he was OK in the game today,” Givony said. “He made a 3, had a nice floater, showed his quickness. His team got blown out, but I thought he was one of the better guys on his team.”
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