Welcome to A10 Talk’s Preseason Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2018-19 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article counting down our best 25 players for the coming season, as voted on by our staff of writers. Today, we feature #12 Mike Lewis II of Duquesne.
What He’s Done
It feels like dawn of a new era at Duquesne as Keith Dambrot enters his second season as head coach. Mike Lewis II is expected to be the Dukes’ rock this year, along with rising star Eric Williams Jr., and the two could certainly make some noise in this year’s A-10 conference. Lewis II enters junior year after averaging very consistent numbers in his first 2 seasons. Lewis II scored just over 14 PPG as a freshman and as a sophomore. He’s shot better than 80% from the free throw line, and he shoots around 36% from three.
Lewis II certainly matured in his second season as a Duke, as he got much better at holding onto the basketball (his turnover rate dropped from 16.7% to 11.4%). He also had some incredibly gutsy performances, including a 25 point night in a triple OT win over La Salle. Lewis II is a guy who has had ice in his veins throughout his Duquesne career, and it always seems he hits the clutch shot when his team needs it most. Junior year will really be a growth year for Lewis II, as Duquesne lost valuable upperclassmen Rene Castro-Caneddy and Tarin Smith who were leaders.
What He’ll Do
There are a lot of young players and new faces on this Duquesne roster, but Mike Lewis II is the most senior in terms of time spent on the court as a Duke. He’ll have to pick up a lot of slack as the younger guys get their footing playing collegiate basketball. I’d expect Lewis II to breakout as a better shooter from distance this season, as the Dukes have more weapons and won’t need 242 season attempts from him. I’d also love to see Lewis II look for more opportunities to get to the free throw line. As good as he can be from the outside, he’s arguably at his best when he’s drawing contact in the lane and finishing at the rim. Either way, Keith Dambrot’s most valuable asset this season is Mike Lewis II, and he’ll have a chance to lead Duquesne to new heights in 2018-19. Things seem to be turning for the Dukes with new leadership and new talent arriving in Pittsburgh, but it’s the most experienced player that will be crucial to Duquesne’s success.
Previously: #13 Jon Axel Gudmundsson