Tyler Lewis

Kellen Dunham

Butler releases full non-conference schedule

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After falling to Notre Dame in overtime in the NCAA tournament Round of 32 last season, Chris Holtmann’s Butler Bulldogs will look to exceed that performance while also contending in the Big East in 2015-16. Thursday afternoon the program revealed its non-conference schedule, which has a few solid matchups that should help Butler get prepared for Big East play.

At first glance the biggest matchups for the Bulldogs will come away from Hinkle Fieldhouse, as they’ll play games against Cincinnati (December 2 in Cincinnati) and Purdue (December 19 at the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse). Butler will also host a Tennessee team led by new head coach Rick Barnes December 12.

Butler will be one of eight teams playing in the Puerto Rico Tipoff November 19, 20 and 22, with Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri State, Temple, Texas Tech and Utah completing the field. Those matchups will be officially announced later this summer.

Butler, which will begin its regular season against The Citadel November 14, has some challenging games on its schedule. With three starters and their top three scorers, led by Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones, back on campus this is a schedule the Bulldogs should be able to manage ahead of Big East play.

Butler will also have a new point guard in Tyler Lewis, who’s eligible to play after sitting out last season following his transfer in from NC State.

Ex-NC State guard Tyler Lewis transfers to Butler

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The 2014 season was one filled with turmoil for Butler, and at the outset, the offseason appeared just as fraught. Rene Castro transferred during the year, and was followed by Nolan Berry and Devontae Morgan, but coach Brandon Miller’s summer recruiting duties just became a bit lighter: Tyler Lewis, a sophomore guard from North Carolina State, has decided to transfer to Butler.

Lewis is the first former McDonald’s All-America to suit up for Butler, and while he will have to sit out next season, his addition ticks off an immediate need for the Bulldogs — point guard.

Alex Barlow has one year of eligibility remaining, and while Kellen Dunham can run point, the guard is most ideally suited off the ball, a move that is guaranteed with Lewis in the fold. There was a thought that Lewis and Cat Barber, a freshman at NC State, would co-exist in the same backcourt, but it was clear towards the end of the 2014 season that Barber would run the team going forward, so despite Lewis’ 42.9 percent assist rate (which ranked within Ken Pomeroy’s top 50), the sophomore needed to find another program with minutes at the one.

The dearth of returning minutes is essentially why Lewis chose Butler: “That’s one of the main reasons I’m looking at them. I feel like I could get good playing time.” Lewis didn’t even visit any other schools before making his decision, choosing Butler after his one and only campus visit.

Tyler Lewis to transfer from N.C. State

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Tyler Lewis is transferring out of the N.C. State program, the school announced in a release late on Saturday night.

“I’d like to thank NC State, my teammates and coaches and the Wolfpack Nation for the past two years,” Lewis said in a statement. “While I will be finishing my career at another school, I will always be grateful for the opportunity at NC State.

Lewis, a sophomore point guard, averaged 4.4 points and 3.8 assists for the Wolfpack this season. He moved into the starting lineup for the last 14 games of the season.

“I wish Tyler the best,” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said.

Lewis was a top 50 recruit and a McDonald’s All-American coming out of Oak Hill Academy, but freshman Cat Barber appears to be the future of the point guard spot for the Wolfpack. With Lewis transferring, Gottfried’s loaded 2012 recruiting class is no more. Rodney Purvis transferred after last season while T.J. Warren is entering the NBA Draft.

Inspiring story behind Tyler Lewis’ breakout game for NC State

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NC State was without point guard Lorenzo Brown due to injury Saturday vs. No. 14 Miami. In his absence, the Wolfpack looked to freshman Tyler Lewis, who had played just 38 minutes through the first eight games of ACC play.

He would be asked to nearly equal that total Saturday, playing 36 stellar minutes and almost leading NC State to a win. A tip-in in the final seconds by Miami’s Reggie Johnson would keep the Hurricanes undefeated in league play, but Lewis’ 16 points, five assists, and just one turnover kept the Wolfpack in the game when they needed it most.

But it wasn’t necessarily his on-court performance that is most impressive. Instead, it is the set of circumstances leading up to the game that give reason for applause.

As detailed in a story in Sunday’s Fayetteville Observer, Lewis played with a heavy heart Saturday, less than 24 hours after the death of his 83-year-old grandmother. He decided he would play Saturday, dedicating the game to his grandmother and grandfather, the man whose words motivated him to remain in Raleigh and take the court against Miami.

“I knew what I had to do out there,” Lewis told the Observer. “I had to prove (myself) to all the people that hadn’t seen me play this year. After this, I think I proved a lot of people wrong.”

To read the story in its entirety, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

How will Lorenzo Brown’s injury affect the development of freshman Tyler Lewis at NC State?

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Tyler Lewis, Rodney Purvis, and TJ Warren comprise a stellar 2012 recruiting class for Mark Gottfried and NC State.

The plan was to bring those freshman in with the strong returners from this past season’s Sweet 16 team, including CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, and have a nucleus that can compete for an ACC title.

Those plans were revised a bit when Brown, a 6-5 guard and the team’s leading assist man in 2011-12, went down with a torn meniscus in his right knee, an injury that required surgery.

But as Brown recovers, Gottfried is taking what he termed a “conservative” approach to his team, according the Associated Press.

”Truthfully, the only objective I have is to have him healthy in October” Gottfried told the AP, which would be in time for formal practices. ”And if he ends up not playing, it helps (Lewis), helps the other players. In other words, if we had to play without Lorenzo, how do we play? There’s a question that needs to be answered, so it gives a chance for some of them to do that.”

On paper, the freshman Lewis has the qualifications to run an ACC team: He led powerhouse Oak Hill (Va.) to a 44-0 record this past season. He was named a McDonald’s All-American. He is praised as one of the best passers from the Class of 2012 and he can shoot the basketball.

And now NC State begins a five-game exhibition tour in Europe that could answer some of those questions.

”This might be the beauty of us going to Spain. … Your team has to learn how it needs to play and who needs to do what,” Gottfried continued. ”We’d all like to know that on Oct. 15, but the reality is sometimes as you play games and you go through those first games in November and December, you begin to really learn your team. … Maybe Spain will help us learn some of those things about our team.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Gatorade names state-by-state Player of the Year winners

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Gatorade announced its Player of the Year awards on Thursday, one award given to the best player in each state in the nation. Below is a quick rundown and recruiting update on some of the most notable names.

Shabazz Muhammad | Bishop Gorman (Nev.) | Unsigned

NBCSports.com did a short profile of Muhammad on Wednesday and his decision is forthcoming. On the year, he averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds per game. The 6-6 swingman will choose between UNLV, USC, UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas.

Amile Jefferson | Friend’s Central (PA) | Unsigned

Jefferson averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds, and almost three blocks in his senior season and solidified his name in the rich Philadelphia talent pool. He is an intelligent forward who is looking to sign in the spring period. Reports are that it has come down to NC State and Duke, making for a recruiting showdown in the Tar Heel State.

Tyler Lewis | Oak Hill (VA) | Signed to NC State

The Wolfpack have a strong three-man class coming in 2012 and the soon-to-be backcourt-heavy Pack will have this kid at the helm. A shifty passer and creative ballhandler, Lewis led Oak Hill to a 44-0 record this season. Along with Rodney Purvis, who won Player of the Year in North Carolina, NC State could be dangerous in 2012-13.

Kris Dunn | New London (CT) | Signed to Providence

Dunn and fellow guard Ricky Ledo will be the face of a rebuilding Providence program under Ed Cooley. The 6-4 guard averaged 31 points, 12 rebounds and five assists this season and is a Top 30 prospect in the Class of 2012.

Ricardo Gathers | Riverside Academy (LA) | Verbally Committed to Baylor

Originally a St. John’s commit, Gathers is now headed to Waco to play for Scott Drew. The Bears are getting a solidly-built rebounding machine who averaged 20 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks per game this season.

Tony Parker | Miller Grove (GA) | Unsigned

Parker is a McDonald’s All-American and one of the most coveted unsigned big man remaining on the board, this side of Nerlens Noel. Duke, UConn, UCLA, Kansas, Ohio State and Georgetown are all in the mix. He averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds for Miller Grove this season.

Check out the rest of the winners here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_