Lewis Says Ohio State Most Comfortable For Him
Ron Lewis is a Buckeye. The only thing left for him to do is sign some papers. Oh, and wait an entire year and then hope he can earn minutes on an Ohio State basketball team with designs on improving this year and that will feature three senior wing players in 2005-06 in J.J. Sullinger, Ricardo Billings and Matt Sylvester.
That's all fine with Lewis, who said he left Bowling Green without a new school in mind and wasn't sure who would want to take him in even with his obvious scoring ability.
"I didn't know where I'd end up and I didn't know anything about Ohio State, to be honest with you," he told BuckeyeSports.com Thursday, "but I knew I wanted to go where I would be most comfortable, and Ohio State was the most comfortable situation. It made sense."
Lewis, of course, liked the fact that OSU was near home. He starred at Columbus Brookhaven High School along with teammate Raheem Moss and the two of them then headed for BG two years ago.
More importantly, though, Lewis felt that new OSU head coach Thad Matta showed the most interest in him. That's why the 6-foot-4 guard gave him his word Tuesday night he'd join ranks at OSU.
"I felt like Ohio State was the only school that really showed they wanted me, them and Evansville (where Lewis visited over the weekend)," he said. "They talked to my brother a lot."
Lewis' older brother, Lamont Carter, handled phone calls for Lewis after he decided to opt out of his scholarship at BG. Lewis said he gave consideration to just about every school that came calling, including Ohio State, Penn State, Dayton, Evansville, Wright State, Virginia Tech and Boston College.
Why more schools didn't court him is a mystery since Lewis led the Flacons in scoring last year as a sophomore at 17.0 points per game and added a healthy 4.7 rebounds per game. He shot 39.6 percent from the field and 82.0 percent from the free-throw line while making a Mid-American Conference high 191 free throws.
"Scoring is nice, I definitely enjoyed being the leading scorer, but you have to make your free throws to do it consistently," he said.
Lewis certainly could help OSU in that regard. He also figures to add athleticism, driving ability and defense to a Buckeye team that plans to be uptempo with Matta at the controls.
"It'll be a new season with a new coach and I'll have to prove myself in practice and in the games when I can play," he said. "I want to prove I can play on this level because there's a lot more to prove playing at the Big Ten level.
"Plus, I want to help Ohio State get better. We know we have to work together to achive our ultimate goals."
Most all of those include winning, something Lewis didn't do enough of at Bowling Green. With Moss transferred away to Cleveland State and other players departed, BG was just 14-17 last season. That's what gave Lewis the courage to walk into Dan Dakich's office and ask for his release, something Dakich did grudgingly after two weeks.
"Basically, I just told him I couldn't pursue my dreams there," he said. "You can't win with a lot of players leaving."
Lewis said he is friends with Sullinger. He played a pickup game at OSU Wednesday morning with Sullinger, Billings and Stockman. All three of those players already sat out a college season before becoming eligible to play for Ohio State.
"They all welcomed me and said they were glad to have me," Lewis said. "It's a good feeling, but I won't be real excited until I sign the papers."
Technically still a recruitable athlete, Lewis said he's likely to make an official visit to OSU this weekend during which he'll take in the OSU football opener in Ohio Stadium, meet more OSU players and sign all the necessary forms. He said his transcripts carried over to OSU intact, allowing him to enroll in time for fall quarter, which begins Sept. 22.