With Tracy Abrams, who missed all of last season woth a torn ACL, sidelined for the entire 2015-16 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon Illinois was in a position where they needed to add another guard capable of handling some playmaking responsibilities. Saturday they were able to do that, with NBCSports.com’s Scott Phillips confirming that former La Salle guard will join John Groce’s program.
Lewis, who will be eligible immediately as a graduate student, also considered Baylor.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 6.0 points and 2.2 assists per game as a redshirt junior, and while those numbers don’t jump off the screen Lewis gives the Fighting Illini some insurance behind junior Jaylon Tate. Tate averaged 3.6 points and 2.9 assists per game in 2014-15, and had Illinois not landed Lewis the junior would have been their most experienced option at the point.
Illinois fell short of the NCAA tournament last season, and Abrams suffering another season-ending injury certainly doesn’t help their chances of turning things around. It would be unfair to expect Lewis to be a ganechanger, but his addition gives Illinois some much-needed depth.