Basketball – Scottie Lewis Officially Returning to Florida for Sophomore Season
Scottie Lewis saved one of his best games of his freshman season at the University of Florida for the final game of the 2019-20 season but it will not be the final game of his college career.
The Hazlet native and four-year star at Ranney announced on Twitter Monday night that he intends to return to Florida for his sophomore season, passing up a chance, for now, of entering the NBA Draft.
"Gator Nation, as you know we have some unfinished business," Lewis said in a prepared statement on Twitter. "Our season was cut short, and we were not able to complete our season that were supposed to. My dream of playing in the NBA is still a top priority, but my heart is in Gainesville! With that being said, I am more than happy to announce I will be returning for the 2020-21 season.
"I am excited for the journey that lies ahead. My story hasn't even started and trust me THE BEST IS YET TO COME!"
In his first year in Gainesville, Lewis averaged 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.17 steals and a team-high 1.17 blocks. He played in 30 of Florida's 31 games and finished strong by averaging 13 points and two assists over his final four games.
In Florida's final game of the regular season, Lewis scored a season-high 19 points in a 71-70 home loss to Kentucky, the No. 8 team in the final Associated Press poll of the 2019-20 season.
Three games earlier, the 6-foot-5 wing poured in 18 points - a new career-high at that point - to go with four assists in a home win over LSU.
At 19-12, Florida was a near-lock to make the NCAA Tournament prior to the cancellation of the college season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other NBA Draft hopefuls playing their freshman season, Lewis missed an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament as well as increase his draft stock on a big stage.
Lewis was conservatively considered a top-20 national recruit when he committed to Florida in the fall of 2018 and was a candidate to leave college after one year of college if things broke right. With an up-and-down season prior to his strong finish, a missed chance to play in the NCAA Tournament and with the NBA schedule drastically affected by the pandemic, circumstances conspired against a one-and-done journey for Lewis.
Both Lewis and Ranney teammate Bryan Antoine were considered one-and-done candidates coming out of high-school but both will plan on returning to college for their sophomore seasons. Antoine was limited to five minutes per game and 16 games overall at Villanova, with surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last May setting him back at the start of his freshman season.
While their freshman seasons did not go exactly as planned, Lewis and Antoine still find themselves in relatively good positions heading into 2020-21. Nick Richards - a seven-footer and product of the Patrick School in N.J. - took three years at Kentucky before he was ready to make the jump to the NBA following this season. Kahlil Whitney - a Roselle Catholic graduate in 2019 - started the season at Kentucky before leaving school to either pursue a pro career or transfer.
Lewis and Antoine are two of the Shore Conference's most decorated players in history after leading Ranney to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title as seniors last March - the first team from the Shore to ever win the T of C. Antoine is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Shore Conference with 2,499 career points and Lewis graduated 12th all-time on the Shore scoring list with more than 1,800 points.