Pepperdine sophomore Maxwell Lewis will enter the 2023 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Monday.
“I’m going all-in and forgoing my college eligibility,” Lewis said. “This is the right time to make this decision.”
Lewis, the No. 27 prospect in ESPN’s NBA draft projections, was named to the All-WCC second-team after averaging 16.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 31 minutes per game this season.
“This year was solid,” Lewis said. “We were all trying to jell together. It didn’t finish how I wanted to. There’s always room for improvement.”
Lewis did not start the season projected as a surefire draft pick after coming off the bench in 2021-22 and averaging just 19 minutes a game, but he was able to make a big jump as a sophomore, drawing a crowd of NBA executives nearly every time he played.
“I never had the role I had at Pepperdine this season, just being able go at defenders one-on-one and in ball screens. I was in the corner in AAU and high school, shooting 3s and waiting for dump-offs. Coach [Lorenzo] Romar gave me a lot of flexibility and trusted me. Having that role and [being] given that opportunity gave me the ability to do more. Also [working] harder and being in the gym more than I ever have.”
Lewis intrigues NBA teams with his dimensions, standing 6-foot-7 with a 6-10 wingspan and a frame that should fill out considerably in time. He’s a smooth, fluid shot creator with an array of hesitation moves operating out of isolation and pick-and-roll, including dynamic shot-making prowess and the ability to pass off a live dribble. With his youthful demeanor and late-blooming trajectory, there are reasons to believe he still has considerable upside left to tap into.
Lewis said the keys for him will be “staying focused and consistent, taking things seriously, knowing my potential and what I can and can’t do, as well as my work ethic. Long nights, early mornings.” He will be training in Las Vegas the next few months with Joe Abunassar at Impact Basketball, “working on my body and looking for the right situation and fit.”
The NBA draft combine will be held May 15-21 in Chicago, and the draft will be June 22 in Brooklyn.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams.