Nike Hoop Summit Guard Scottie Lewis Soars Above Competition and Adversity
As one of the top-ranked basketball recruits in the country, Scottie Lewis is at a great spot in his career. Still, he recognizes all the adversity in his life he had to overcome to get there.
“Life is a struggle,” said Lewis, who will represent USA Basketball in the 22nd annual Nike Hoop Summit on Friday April 12 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. (Tickets) “My drive in life is to be successful. It’s one of the reasons anyone chooses to do what they do. In a larger aspect, I want to help people in all aspects of their life.”
Lewis, a 6-foot-5, high-flying guard, attends Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and currently lives in Hazlet, New Jersey. He’s been fighting for respect and recognition his entire playing career, determined to overcome humble beginnings.
He attended the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team minicamp and the 2018 Men’s U18 National Team training camp, but he wasn’t selected to compete in international competition.
He also was one of 24 players named to the 2018 USA Men’s Junior National Select Team that took part in the NCAA Next Generation Sunday program at the 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four.
It wasn’t until early February when he learned he’d finally earned the opportunity to wear USA across his chest in the Nike Hoop Summit.
“I started with USA Basketball when I was a freshman, but I was too old to play for the U16 team at that time,” he said. “I came back for a second time, and a third time and I was cut, but I went further the last time when all four teams competed against each other in Colorado. I had a really good showing there.”
Samson Kayode, USA Basketball’s assistant director for the men’s national team, made the phone call to inform Lewis he made the grade for the Nike Hoop Summit.
“Samson said based off my progress, they felt I was one of the most improved players over the course of the four years, and I made the team,” Lewis said.
Never quitting or giving up is a character trait for Lewis. The circumstances he grew up in could have broken some, but his family was too invested in each other to let that happen.
“I get my inspiration from my mother, Shavasha Smith,” he said. “She is my No. 1 role model, having to raise five kids on her own. We’ve never had a real full-time father figure. We had to teach ourselves. It changed our perspective on life and what we can do in the world.
“She raised us without help, and along with my two older brothers, taught me everything about life, how to handle different situations, how to treat someone, what you should really be all about.”
That life experience has helped Lewis develop an on-court mentality that is second to none. After his last cut from the USA Basketball roster this past July, he arrived back in New Jersey late at night and went to visit his AAU coach. Then he went to the gym at 11:30 p.m., taking shots for the next three hours, literally to the point of exhaustion.
For him, “no” was merely an answer, not an end.
He’s committed to the University of Florida, where he’s looking forward to a new setting, and the chance to major in broadcast communications with a minor in creative writing.
Lewis is described as an explosive player, a wicked defender and a rebounder on both ends of the court who projects as a guard at the NBA level.
And he can jump, which is an understatement.
“It just comes from athleticism,” he said. “I started dunking when I was in sixth grade. I got used to it, and it’s something that’s a part of my game now. It’s just fun.”
Lewis is a four-time champion at the Shore Slam Dunk Contest and 2018 City of Palms Classic dunk contest champion. He says his best dunks are his 360 and his windmill.
“Everyone gets to see what everyone else has,” he said. "It’s a crowd pleaser, and that’s a plus for me.”
Lewis and his Ranney School teammates were crowd pleasers this season, going all the way to winning the Tournament of Champions in New Jersey, which pits the top public and non-public schools from the state playoffs against each other in one final championship game.
“My senior year was amazing,” he said. “We went 31-3, and it’s one of our school’s best records in a decade. We were hoping to create a legacy at our school, and winning the TOC does that.”
For Lewis, it all comes down to family, whether that means his family on the court or his family by blood. And he’s looking forward to adding to his family at the Nike Hoop Summit and the University of Florida.