Selma center commits to Middle Tenn.

Published 9:39 pm Saturday, October 18, 2008

Selma High center Wendell Lewis on Saturday announced his decision to play basketball for Middle Tennessee State University.

Team unity played a large role in his decision, but Lewis also likes the style of coach Kermit Davis.

“They’re like a family. They treat me like I’m one of theirs,” said Lewis. “They make you feel like you got nothing to worry about.”

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Lewis chose the Blue Raiders over Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama, the University of Jacksonville, Jacksonville State, Troy, Alabama A&M and Alabama State, among others.

Selma coach Woodie Jackson has coached several Division I players, including former Parade All-American and Clemson signee Willie Shears, Tennessee signee Alonzo Johnson and UT-Chattanooga guard John Oliver.

He thinks Lewis has as much potential as any player he has seen in 28 years.

“He’s a big man that can really run the floor,” said Jackson. “He does a good job once he gets the ball. He can play with his back to the bucket as well as facing the bucket. There ain’t no doubt he has all the tools.

“It’s just a matter of him continuing to get that work ethic. Regardless of where you go, you’ve got to have a good work ethic.”

Lewis said he looked forward to the chance to play in a fast-paced, transition offense.

“I just like their program and the style they play,” said Lewis. They play my style — running up and down the court.”

As he considered his college choice, Lewis’ grandmother, Bernice, played a large role in his decision. He wanted her approval.

“I want him to get a good education,” said Lewis. “God blessed him with good height. I’m not worried about the basketball part, but I’m focused on his education. If he’s excited, then I’m excited.”

Jackson is excited about Lewis’s commitment, but even more excited about the message it gives his team.

“Anytime you have a good player on the team and the college recruiters come in to see them, they see the other players on the team,” said Jackson. “If the players play as one and don’t play selfish, they will have the opportunity to catch the eye of the college recruiters as well.”

Lewis plans to sign with the Blue Raiders during the early signing period in November.