Photo courtesy of Under Armour/Kelly Kline
By David Cordova
In the class of 2019, there are plenty of top-tier talents on the national level. There are guards, forwards and centers that have showcased their high-level play that are now entering the second half of their high school career: junior year. At this time, their phones are lighting up with calls from college coaches and their mailboxes are being flooded. Very soon, some of these guys will definitely be playing pro ball somewhere.
For Scottie Lewis, that path is definitely certain. At the present time, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from the Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey is ranked the No. 12 player in his class by ESPN. He has been on everyone’s radar since his middle school years and has a vertical leap that looks similar to a young Vince Carter back in the 1990’s.
“Basketball really opens up doors and allows you to make connections with people that can set you up for life.” says Lewis, who started playing competitively in sixth grade.
When asked about his basketball influences, he said: “Definitely Kobe Bryant. I look at him as one of the guys I try to be just like, I want to have the mentality of him and Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry and his story and how he overcame everything and everything people ever said about him and how he wants to be great, just win games, so that’s what I try to emulate and put into my game.”
He comes from the Garden State, where there are plenty of top ballplayers that are nationally ranked. When asked about the high-level talent in Jersey, Lewis says, “Jersey’s different, we all say it, Jersey basketball’s just different. It’s definitely on the rise. Like me, Bryan, Jalen Gaffney, Nazi, Jahvon, Atiba, Luther, and what we’ve brought it to be as far as what we’ve brought it to be. I’m proud to be Jersey.”
And the secret to his outstanding leaping ability? “Just jump. To be honest with you, I kind of had that for awhile, I used to dance when I was a kid, I used to do ballet for about for about four years, and I think now since I have the flexibility and the technique, it kind of just carried over into basketball.”
Another thing that carries over into hoops is the fact that he plays track-and-field, which makes Lewis a multi-sport athlete. This year, at the Ranney School, he averaged 11.50 in the 100-meter dash and 23.50 in the 200-meter dash and also 6-foot-2 in the high-jump.
On the court, he averaged 16.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for a team that went 22-5 on the season, 13-1 in the Shore Conference, that went as far as the NJSIAA Non-Public, South Jersey B Tournament semifinals, where they lost to the eventual Tournament of Champions winner, the Patrick School.
“With the Ranney School, we did pretty well, we did pretty well, we lost in the semifinals to the Patrick School by six. Bryan played well, Ahmadou played well, I did well on the defensive end, we were so close to beating them down the stretch. Losing to them means that next year, we’ll be just be ready to take it home,” said Lewis.
Since his middle school days, he’s been playing with Team Rio, an AAU program based in New Jersey that is sponsored by NBA player Mario Chalmers of the Memphis Grizzlies and is a marquee name on the Under Armour Association circuit.
When asked what the program meant to him, Lewis said, “Family, pride, hard work and definitely dedication. Those are four things that we try to instill in all of the players that come into our programs. We just made a whole new 16’s team, so we’re trying to teach them that it’s all about we instead of me. Those are definitely some things that I take away when I’m at practice with my coaches and trainers at Team Rio.”
This summer, he had an outstanding summer with Team Rio, leading them to a 9-6 record and a berth in the UAA Finals in Atlanta, Georgia. However, he felt that his performance on the court wasn’t up to his standards. “Honestly, not as well as I thought I would, shots weren’t falling, definitely down in Atlanta, in the UAA Finals, I didn’t play the way I thought I should have played for my team and how I thought I was going to play, so definitely next year, I have to become more of a scoring threat and be more lethal on the offensive end as I am on the defensive end.”
Aside from the athlete, there’s Scottie Lewis, the scholar. The Ranney School is a private, preppy school in central New Jersey, which costs $31,300 per year to educate a secondary student. It is a school that resembles a college-like atmosphere in which they educate their students and get them prepared for the next level of higher learning.
When asked about what the Ranney School meant to him, Lewis said, “Fantastic. They’re very understanding of our schedule and what we’re trying to be and what we’re trying to become in our life. They definitely set us up academically, and I took my SAT and I got an 1180 on it the first time just because they set me up as far as going to classes and being highly-educated and showing me how to work faster & think faster, and that definitely carried over to when I took my SAT. I ended the school year with a 3.3 [grade-point average], which kind of balances out. So I think from an education standpoint, it will definitely set you up and a connections standpoint, because most of those kids come from affluent families, so you can create some friendships that can carry you out through life.”
At this present time, Lewis has a boatload of offers from many of the nation’s top programs around the country. When asked about his recruitment, he said, “Everyone’s pretty much calling, I’ve been talking to Coach Shire a lot, Coach Barbee, Coach K a lot, Florida, Villanova, St. John’s, Seton Hall, those are the main ones that have been reaching out 24/7.”
Next season, the Ranney squad will definitely be one of the top teams in the Garden State as they have Lewis, Bryan Antoine, who is another top-flight prospect in the junior class, ranked 13th in the country by ESPN, and also they have Alex Klatsky, Ahmadou Sarnor, and Savior Akuwovo, a transfer from the now-defunct powerhouse, St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, which closed this summer.
Lewis’ thoughts his upcoming junior year at Ranney? “Definitely to win the Shore Conference tournament and go further into the T.O.C. and give it our best run there and try to win that.”
Look out for the name Scottie Lewis in the next couple of years. He will definitely be a fixture at whatever college he chooses to go to. He is a bright student-athlete and a player that is destined for greatness not only on the court, but also in life. When asked what’s next in his future, he replied, “Success.”
Highlights of Scottie Lewis:
Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.
Courtesy of NJ Sports Scene.
Courtesy of NJ Sports Scene.
Courtesy of Home Team Hoops.
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.
Courtesy of Mars Reel.
Courtesy of City League TV Hoops.