NC State guard Tyler Lewis to transfer

jgiglio@newsobserver.comMarch 29, 2014 

Tyler Lewis helped N.C. State make the NCAA tournament this season and helped T.J. Warren win the ACC player of the year award but the sophomore point guard will finish his college career elsewhere.

Lewis announced Saturday that he will transfer from N.C. State after two seasons. Lewis’ father, Rick, said his son made a personal decision and is looking for a situation that best fits his skill set.

“We appreciate State giving Tyler the opportunity to play and they honored his scholarship during the coaching change,” Rick Lewis said Saturday. “This was a difficult decision. We wished it would have worked out.”

Lewis, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Statesville, started the final 14 games of the season and helped the Wolfpack reach the NCAA tournament for the third straight season.

Warren’s scoring numbers went up more than 25 percent when Lewis was inserted into the starting lineup after an 84-70 loss at North Carolina on Feb. 1. Warren, who led the ACC in scoring, averaged 28.6 points per game after Lewis replaced freshman Cat Barber in the starting lineup, compared to 22.3 per game before.

With Warren set to enter the NBA draft, Lewis is ready to move on as well. Lewis had modest averages on the season, 4.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, but finished with 135 assists and 38 turnovers, which set a new single-season school record for assist-to-turnover ratio.

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

Lewis came to N.C. State with Warren and Rodney Purvis, who transferred to Connecticut after the 2012-13 season; all three were McDonald’s All-Americans. None of the three will be with the program next season. Lewis is the seventh player to transfer early out of the program since Mark Gottfried was hired in April 2011.

With Barber, also a McDonald’s All-American, returning for his sophomore season, plus the addition of Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey, there was a potential logjam for minutes at the point next season.

Barber, who averaged 8.5 points and finished with 3.5 assists per game, said before N.C. State’s loss to Saint Louis in the Round of 64 that he and Lewis had become friends during the season and there was no animosity between the two teammates, despite the competition for minutes.

“Me and Tyler, we’re great friends,” Barber said in Orlando, Fla., before N.C. State’s 83-80 loss to Saint Louis on March 20. “We don’t get into who’s starting and who’s coming off the bench. We’re not going to throw hate at each other about that.”

With Lewis and Warren moving on, N.C. State will return Barber, Desmond Lee and Ralston Turner in the backcourt next season and will add Lacey and freshman twins Cody and Caleb Martin. Forwards BeeJay Anya, Lennard Freeman and Kyle Washington will return with addition of freshman Abdul-Malik Abu.

Lewis committed to N.C. State under former coach Sidney Lowe after his junior season at Forsyth Country Day in 2011. A year later, he led Oak Hill Academy to a 44-0 record.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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