With Lorenzo Brown Out, Tyler Lewis is Seizing Opportunity to ShinePosted by Jimmy Kelley on February 8th, 2013
Jimmy Kelley is an ACC correspondent for Rush the Court. Follow him on Twitter @DevilsinDurham
There is no denying that Lorenzo Brown is N.C. State’s most important player. The key to their fast break, Brown was the catalyst for everything good that has happened for the Wolfpack in 2013. Since he picked up an ankle injury against Virginia, N.C. State is 0-3 and are in a bit of a tailspin as they look to discover an identity without their point guard. While the results haven’t been good, the play of freshman point guard Tyler Lewis has been encouraging and should give Wolfpack fans a reason to believe that if Brown should pick up another injury or end up in foul trouble, the team will still be in good hands.
Part of Mark Gottfried’s outstanding recruiting class, Lewis came out of Oak Hill Academy with a reputation as a great offensive player who could hit the three, get by anyone with his dribble and find his teammates with entertaining and accurate passes. Through the first few months of the season Lewis’ impact was limited as Brown played an average of 33 minutes per game an topped the 36 minute mark in every ACC game besides the Virginia game when he got hurt. The last two games have given Lewis an opportunity to show what he is capable of and he has seized that opportunity with both hands.
Despite not starting on Saturday against Miami, Lewis played 36 minutes of poised basketball scoring 16 points with five assists and just one turnover off the bench. On Thursday night against Duke, Lewis played 39 minutes scoring 13 points with six assists and no turnovers. He posted a +8 plus/minus rating in 20 minutes of play during the second half in Durham, helping key the Wolfpack’s comeback. As helpful as numbers like that can be, when talking about Lewis in a fair context one must take those numbers with a grain of salt, especially in one-game samples. He is an offensive player and a defensive liability. That is who he is and that likely won’t change any time soon.
This team will not be the same semi-juggernaut they were with Brown with Lewis at the helm, but he is a capable caretaker. It is unclear how much longer Brown will be out but in the meantime, the Wolfpack will be a challenge for any ACC defense to handle and as long as the rest of the team provides some help behind him on defense they will be fine.