After whatever Saturday was, it felt like it was only a matter of time before Marquette men’s basketball fans finally got an answer one way or another as to what Justin Lewis’ future was. That played out on Tuesday afternoon, as the sophomore forward announced that he will be entering the 2022 NBA Draft while retaining his eligibility to return to Marquette if he so desires.
For posterity’s sake, or in case the tweet isn’t loading properly for you, or whatever:
My two years on campus have truly been a blessing and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to become a Golden Eagle and I am thankful each and every day for the opportunity the university has provided me and my family.
I want to thank Coach Wojciechowski, Coach Smart and all of the coaches, teammates, support staff and fans who have made my time at Marquette so special. I have not only become a better basketball player, but also a better man, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
It’s always been my dream to play in the NBA and I fell I am ready to explore that next step in my career. I will be declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft and signing with an agent, while maintaining my eligibility throughout the process.
It will always be #WeAre!!!
In his second season in Milwaukee, Lewis started every single game for head coach Shaka Smart. His per game averages of 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds were both team highs, and he chipped in 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game as well. The biggest development in Lewis’ game from freshman year, beyond being asked to carry the team as The Guy, was his three-point shooting. Lewis didn’t do much of it freshman year with just 32 attempts, and he only sank 22% of them. This year? 35% from downtown and a very robust 41% in Big East play.
Lewis’ size and speed, particularly his 7+ foot wingspan, in combination with his skill set are clearly going to make him intriguing to NBA front offices. The only question is whether that intrigue leads to a promise from a general manager for a guaranteed contract. That could be as a first round pick, or even as a second round pick if the GM in question feels frisky. But if not, if Lewis gets feedback that tells him that he’s not likely to get a guaranteed deal, he’s retaining the option to return to Marquette for a third season.
The biggest question facing Lewis? Is he willing to chase after a pro career no matter what that means, NBA or overseas, or is he interested in a shot at being Big East Preseason Player of the Year and the name, image, and likeness money possibilities that comes with that?
Now that Lewis is officially part of the NBA Draft process, he has until June 1st to make a decision and still be able to play for the Golden Eagles next season. The big item on the list might be whether or not Lewis gets invited to the NBA Combine. That’s currently scheduled for May 16-22 in Chicago, so we’ll see what happens between now and then…..