The Wolf Pack has hit the transfer market again, this time hoping a long-term investment pays dividends in 2020-21.
Mike Lewis II, a transfer guard from Duquesne, committed Thursday morning to Nevada and will join the team at the start of the spring semester later this month.
Lewis led Duquesne in scoring during his freshman and sophomore seasons before seeing his minutes cut nearly in half this year, which led to his transfer, which was announced last week.
“I really like Mike not only as a player, but as a person,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said last week. “He’s got good work ethic, he’s a good guy. I feel bad it didn’t work out. ... I wish him well. I respect him and his decision. I don’t have any hard feelings whatsoever. He gave us an opportunity, and it just didn’t quite work out this year.”
Lewis committed to Duquesne when the team was led by former coach Jim Ferry. The St. Louis native averaged 14.1 points on 40.9 percent shooting, including 36 percent from three, during that freshman season, after which Ferry was fired. He stuck with Duquesne following the coaching change and averaged 14.4 points on 38.4 percent shooting, including 36.8 percent from three, during his sophomore season.
Duquesne, which is off to a 9-4 start this season, added seven freshmen and four transfers this season, cutting into Lewis' minutes. As a junior, he averaged 5.6 points in 16.8 minutes per game, shooting 38.3 percent from the field, including 32.4 percent from three. After playing only seven minutes in an overtime with over Eastern Kentucky three days before Christmas, Lewis announced he was leaving the school three days after Christmas.
"I want to thank Duquesne for all it has done for me over the past 2.5 years and I want to thank all of the fans who have supported me through my time here," Lewis said on Twitter when announcing his transfer. "This City and University will always have a special place in my heart, I wish everyone the best."
Lewis is expected to walk-on this semester before being put on scholarship in 2019-20, a year in which he will redshirt the entire season. That will leave him with one season of eligibility at Nevada in 2020-21. The Wolf Pack envisions the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Lewis playing the role filled by Jazz Johnson, another diminutive guard, in Lewis' one year at Nevada, an instant-impact scorer off the bench. Johnson's final year of eligibility is next year, with Lewis being an active member of the Pack the following season.
In 76 college games, including 72 starts, Lewis averaged 12.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. He shot 39.6 percent from the field, including 36.1 percent from three. He's made 164 3-pointers in his career, with 60 percent of his shots coming from beyond the arc. He's had 15 games hitting at least four 3-pointers, including a career-high seven 3-point effort against Delaware State last season. Lewis is 21 points shy of 1,000 in his college career.
Born in Houston, Lewis played his high school ball for Chaminade in St. Louis, where he was part of the No. 7 team in the nation in USA Today's final expert poll. That team included four future Division I players, including Jason Tatum, who went to Duke before being the No. 3 pick of the 2017 NBA draft. Out of high school, Lewis had offers from Omaha, IUPUI, Central Michigan, Evansville and Illinois State, among others.
Lewis becomes the third commitment in Nevada's 2019 class, which includes two other transfers: Pitt's Shamiel Stevenson and former Akron player Eric Parrish, who is playing junior-college ball in Louisiana this season. The Wolf Pack still has four scholarships remaining in the class.
Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.