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Florida's Scottie Lewis to return for his sophomore year

"There’s so much more I think I can show, that we can show as a team,” projected NBA Draft pick tells Stadium
Credit: AP
Florida guard Scottie Lewis (23) claps his hands against Baylor during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

The highest recruit in Mike White's tenure at Florida is back for another season.

Once a presumed, NBA Lottery pick, Scottie Lewis announced via social media Monday morning that he will return for his sophomore year. In his first campaign, the 6'5'' guard averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Lewis was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team for his efforts, but in a telling interview with Stadium's Jeff Goodman on Monday, Lewis said his freshman season left much to be desired.

“I put the season we had on my shoulders,” Lewis told Goodman. The Gators, a preseason, Top-10 team nationally, were slated to be the five-seed in the SEC Tournament before its cancellation. “I came in with a big head. I wasn’t promised anything, but I expected a lot. It didn’t just hurt me, but it hurt our team. It took me a while, but I learned how to be coachable and I thought it showed with how well the team was playing towards the end of the season.” 

Lewis also expressed to Goodman concerns about the NBA Draft process given the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on pre-Draft workouts. Even though the NBA's advisory committee assured Lewis he would be drafted, there was no, surefire answer as to where he would be selected among the Draft's 60 selections. 

“I’m an optimistic person and no matter where I get drafted, I’m going to work my butt off,” he added. “But with all this uncertainty, it was best for me to play it safe and put myself in a better position a year from now.” 

A McDonalds' All-American in high school and the No. 9 ranked player in the ESPN100 for the Class of 2019, Lewis said he truly felt Florida was playing its best basketball down the stretch. The Gators finished the unfinished, 2019-2020 season 19-12, 11-7 in the SEC.

Its unfinished business, no matter which way you look at it, Lewis told Goodman.

“I want to finish what I started after not being able to play in the postseason,” he said. “I want to get Florida back to the Final Four and also have a chance to put myself at the top of next year’s draft.”

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