Five-Star senior Scottie Lewis verbally committed to the University of Florida, he tells Prep Circuit. For the Ranney School (N.J.) standout, it came down to his relationship with head coach Mike White and what he thinks he can accomplish at Florida.
“I’ve made the decision that I will be committing to the University of Florida,” said Lewis. “I felt it was the better choice for me at the end of the day. Everyone around me felt that I couldn’t make a bad decision as far as what I want to do with my life, but it came down to finding the better one for myself. I just realized that the University of Florida was the place for me with how they are outside of the basketball world and my comfortability with them. I think Coach Mike White and I both have a lot going for ourselves. I think we will mesh well and create something special together.”
A large part of his decision had to do with Lewis looking to go to a school where he can pave his own path. With the pieces Florida has coming in alongside him, Lewis believes he can do just that in a special way.
“I’ve based my whole career off being a conductor,” Lewis said. “I feel like Tre Mann, Omar Payne, Alex Klatsky, myself and others need to bring Florida back to being that national championship winning team. I’m just happy to take part in what we are trying to create at Florida. I’m happy to go in with guys I trust and take part in a great community.”
Going to a school where he has built a close relationship with the coaching staff is something that Lewis is thrilled about. That was most clear to him during his in-home visit with the Florida coaching staff.
“Having that bond with the Florida coaching staff is incredible,” said Lewis. “I liked all of my in-home visits, but with Florida it was different. When Florida came to my house, there was just a bunch of laughs. We just did what a family would do if they were together. I felt that these are people that I can have normal conversations with and build important relationships with. I’ll be surrounded with people that have my best interest at heart.”
Lewis was down to a final two of Florida and Kentucky. He looked deep into what Kentucky head coach John Calipari had planned for him and appreciates him taking the time out to recruit him as hard as he did.
“Kentucky is Kentucky, that’s evident with how much they prove year in and year out,” he said. “They know what they have to do and what players they need to get. With Kentucky being as great as they are, you need to at least think about them. When they came in I knew it was something I had to consider. I just want to thank them for taking a chance on me. Coach Calipari looks out for people like me and I know he had my best interest at heart.”
“I could tell he was passionate about teaching me and helping me understand what it means to be at Kentucky. He trusts his players and will take care of you no matter what. I wish the best of luck to Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen who are headed there next year. I can’t wait to play against those guys.”
Lewis has formed a close relationship with Terry Dehere, a former second team NCAA All-American with Seton Hall and NBA lottery pick. Dehere gave Lewis some advice off his own experience in dealing with the college recruitment process.
“Someone who I have a great relationship with in Terry Dehere spoke with me,” he said. “He didn’t even know who my final two schools were. He told me something that was very helpful when he compared when he went through the recruiting process to me going through it. He said he was down to North Carolina and Seton Hall and decided to choose the school where he can pave his own path. He told me to go to the place where I’m most comfortable and a place where I can be myself the best. After hearing that, I just felt that the coaching staff at Florida really knows me and I trust them.”
Early on, I didn’t know as much about the recruiting process as I do now. I didn’t even know what an offer was when I was younger. My first two offers were Saint John’s and Florida. I never played for offers or for the recruiting process instead I played to win games and have fun with my guys. As I got older everything got very real for me. As I saw all of my friends around me like Bryan Antoine, Alex Klatsky and more committing it all started to click for me. The last couple of weeks have been really stressful in figuring out what is best for me and my family. I’m the one that has to put on the jersey, put in the hours on and off the court and eventually perform on game day. I had to find the place where I felt most comfortable and the University of Florida just so happened to be that place.
When everything hit me that Florida was the school for me I had moments of me thinking of next year in college. There are other kids that will unfortunately have to pay money to go to school. I’ve set myself up to go to college for free, which I can’t emphasize enough how fortunate I am to have that opportunity. I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of the people who stuck with me, supported me and helped make me. It’s not common for people to be in this position with where I’m from. My biggest thing growing up was making sure myself, my brothers and my sisters weren’t a part of a negative statistic and I think we are all moving toward being a positive one.
Richie Greaves, a class of 2020 PG from Roselle Catholic (NJ), will attend Rutgers' Midnight Madness tonight.