Former NC State guard Tyler Lewis transferring to Butler

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 4, 2014 

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Former N.C. State guard Tyler Lewis will transfer to Butler.

GREGORY SHAMUS — Getty Images

— The next stop for Tyler Lewis is Butler and historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The popular point guard will share his new basketball home with the movie "Hoosiers."

The 5-11 sophomore point guard leaves N.C. State after two seasons without bitterness but eager for the next stage of his college career.

"I love N.C. State," Lewis said. "I committed during my junior year in high school so I feel like I've been there forever but I felt like it was time to move on."

Lewis, a McDonald's All-American out of Statesville, started 18 games and averaged 4.4 points and 3.8 assists per game this past season. His late move into the starting lineup in February helped push the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament for a third straight season.

Lewis had seven points and eight assists in the Wolfpack's 74-59 win over Xavier in the first round of the NCAA tournament. His potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation in a 83-80 loss to Saint Louis in the Round of 64 rimmed in and out.

Lewis started the final 14 games of the season but was in a position where he would have to share time next season with both Cat Barber and Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey.

The prospect of playing next season without star forward T.J. Warren, one of Lewis' best friends and primary advocate for playing time with coach Mark Gottfried, also factored into his decision to transfer, Lewis said.

The chance to play in a system with more pick-and-roll plays and screens for the point guard was also an important part of the decision, Lewis said.

"I think it's the right place for me," Lewis said.

Lewis joins a Butler program that rewrote the definition of "mid-major" program with consecutive trips to the national title game in 2010 and '11. The 61-59 loss to Duke in the 2010 national championship game, played near Butler's campus in Indianapolis, was one of the most memorable tournament games of the past 25 years.

The Bulldogs lost coach Brad Stevens to the NBA after the 2012-13 season and moved into the Big East. They went 14-17 this past season under first-year coach Brandon Miller.

Sophomore guard Kellen Dunham, who led the Bulldogs with 16.4 points per game, is friends with Lewis going back to the AAU summer circuit in high school, Lewis said. Assistant coach Chris Holtmann also had recruited Lewis out of high school.

Lewis will have to sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules but will have two seasons of eligibility left to play for the Bulldogs.

The toughest part of the transition will be sitting out next season, he said.

"It's going to be hard, at the same time I'm going to use it to get better," Lewis said.

N.C. State doesn't have another point guard coming in this season but Lacey, who will be a junior, or Desmond Lee, could be used to spell Barber, who averaged 8.5 points and 3.5 assists as a freshman.

Gottfried did sign twins Cody and Caleb Martin, a pair of wings, who will help compensate for Lewis' minutes. The Wolfpack has three available scholarships for next season if Gottfried wants to add to the recruiting class or a transfer.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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