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Monday, December 20, 2004

Penn Lands Big Recruit

The Penn Quakers apparently landed their biggest recruit in many years when 6'8" SF Cameron Lewis of Washington, D.C. and that basketball factory known as Phillips Exeter Academy told the Quakers he's going to Penn. Thanks to's recruiting section for this piece of information. The Daily Pennsylvanian, in an earlier story, reported that Lewis was choosing between Penn and Columbia, and one of the Penn cognoscenti who sometimes e-mails me informed me months ago that Lewis is a Top-100-type recruit. In a fashion sometimes typical of partisans of any school, I think the e-mail was a big overbloated, as Lewis did not show up on any of the Top-100 lists. Still, this person on the scene usually knows what he's talking about, and I'm sure that Lewis is a good player who will contribute for the Quakers.

The linked article contains the usual bromides about the HS player, although one quote from Lewis's HS coach made me laugh out loud. The coach remarked, "If he had a jumpshot, he'd be going to Stanford." First, that's what the Ivies are all about, getting players who cannot play at the big-time schools because they are slower developers or have flaws in their game. Second, duh, if Chris Dudley had an offensive game he would have been Bill Walton.

Now, that being said, all coaches are prone to make statements like that. Princeton years ago had a swingman from Long Island who turned down a scholarship to St. John's to go to Princeton. Great kid, good player, but he wasn't the best ballplayer. Pete Carril, then Princeton's coach, hounded the kid to work on his ballhandling skills, figuring that the kid had a chance to be something really special if he dedicated himself to his ballhandling. Unfortunately for Coach Carril, basketball lost its lustre for this kid, and he quit the team.

Years later, a friend of this kid's runs into Pete Carril on the Princeton campus and introduces himself. He said, "Coach, I'm sure you don't remember me, but I was a friend of [this kid] and visited him on campus from time to time." Without missing a beat, Carril said, "Oh, [so-and-so], [so-and-so], if only he could have handled the ball, he would have played in the NBA."

Well, the kid in question is a friend of mine, and he recounted the story to me, and we shared a laugh. I told him that my response to Coach Carril would have been, "if [so-and-so] could have handled the ball, he would have gone to Duke, and not to Princeton." We nodded in agreement.

So, Cameron Lewis, show the Dukes, Stanfords, Vanderbilts and whomever elses that they misjudged you. Work on your jumper, dominate the Ivies and then play in the NBA.

And take advantage of a great education and a great coach while you're at it.

Because if the latter is all you do, you're going to come out way ahead.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cam lewis is mad nice. He will dominate the ivys with style

10:33 AM  

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