Julien Lewis came to Austin as a scorer.Â He averaged 26 points ppg his Senior season at La Marque High School, and led his team to the 4AÂ state championship game.Â Known as a marksman in high school, not many people expected Lewis to struggle shooting the ball as much as he has. Â Lewis started off the season shooting the ball like AJ Abrams. Â In Texas’ first game against Boston University, Lewis was spectacular. Â He finished the game with 18 points and 4 rebounds, going 4-7 from 3 and 3-5 from the field. Â Feeling the momentum from his first game, Lewis tried to turn himself into a standstill shooter. Â He hoisted 7 3s in games against Rhode Island and NC State that month. Â He also took double digit shots in every game except 1 that month. Â To Texas fans, it seemed like Lewis shot the ball every time he touched it. Â He wasn’t the defensive stopper we had expected him to be, he wasn’t the slasher we had expected him to be. Â December came and went and Lewis did the same things in did in November. Â Shot the ball a lot and played bad defense. Rick Barnes tried to push him by giving Sterling Gibbs more minutes, but it didn’t work. Â January came and Lewis was still happy to be a standstill shooter. Â Lewis sprinkled in a few good performances here and there, but his play could be better.
Then all of a sudden, Julien Lewis saw the light. Â It happened in a game against Baylor at the end of January. Â With Texas down double figures, Lewis caught the ball with a little room behind the 3 point line. Â But instead of hoisting a 6, like he had done unsuccessfully 5 times before that game, Lewis put the ball on the floor and got to the basket for a key Texas bucket. Â He liked it so much he did it again the next time he caught the ball. Â Every since that game, Julien Lewis has been a different, much better basketball player. Â He tied his career high in assists(3) 2 games later against Texas Tech, and recently broke that high with 4 against Baylor on Monday. Â Lewis is relying less on the 3 point shot and is getting by his man and making plays. Â Consider this, he shot 26 3s in the month of January, he has shot only 12 this month Even more impressive, he is competing his tail off on the defensive end. Â Lewis has been hampered by a bad hamstring, yet you wouldn’t know by his play.
There is no doubt in my mind Lewis will go down as a great player in Texas history. Â Lewis, more than anybody on the team has year has sacrificed his numbers for the better of the team. Â His numbers don’t tell the full story right now, but they will improve if he continues to play within the team. Â He is a bit like Justin Mason and Royal Ivey in that he is a scrappy guy, but Lewis is also more offensively advanced at this point in his career than Ivey and Mason were. Â He is starting to put things together, and is becoming a better all around player.