The Scottie Lewis hype is real, man.
And hey, there’s no reason the anticipation shouldn’t be high. Ever since recruiting services started ranking the 2019 class Lewis was up at the top of it and everything he’s done since a high school freshman has pointed towards him being an stellar college player and beyond. Whether it be his performances in high school, the summer circuits, feature games or showcase camps he has impressed everyone that’s been lucky enough to lay eyes on him and for that reason he’s expected to make a major impact in what’s almost certainly going to be a single year at Florida.
Everyone thinks he’ll be productive, but just how productive exactly?
Forecasting the statistical output of a freshman is extremely difficult. With nothing to really go off it’s mostly a guessing game. You can look at their high school or AAU numbers to try to project what that could mean in college but historically that hasn’t been an effective tool for projecting stats.
I had an idea that may give a decent projection Lewis’ numbers next season. The best way to estimate how Lewis will do statistically may be to simply look at the recent history of players similar to him as recruits and see how they performed in their freshman season. Looking at comparable players and how they did should give some indication of what can be expected from Lewis.
To do this I used the 247 Composite rankings. I looked at players from the last 8 seasons who:
1) Are ranked somewhat similarly to Lewis. Lewis is ranked 7th in the 2019 class, but I’ll add that most recruiting analysts suggest this isn’t a particularly strong class and for that reason I looked a little bit lower at times for comparable players.
2) Are similar in size to Lewis (roughly 6’5” to 6’7”, Lewis is 6’5” but has a monster wingspan that makes him play bigger).
3) Played a similar game to Lewis’ (I didn’t want players who were ranked similarly and built physically similar to Lewis but played a totally different style to skew the numbers, sorry Malik Monk and your volume shooting off the catch).
4) Played a high-major schedule (I didn’t want the inflated numbers of someone who played against a softer schedule skewing the projection for Lewis who will be playing an SEC schedule, sorry UNLV’s Rashad Vaughn).
With that being said, here are all the players that fit the bill with what they were ranked in their respective classes according to the 247 Composite as well as the numbers they put up in their freshman years. Feel free to skim over this list if you like and find players that you think may be similar to the way Lewis plays. If you see a player you think is similar you can see their numbers and see if you think Lewis will put up the same numbers or something similar to it. But do it quick, I’ll have more to talk about afterwards!
Nassir Little (North Carolina)
Romeo Langford (Indiana)
Quentin Grimes (Kansas)
Keldon Johnson (Kentucky)
Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky)
Rawle Alkins (Arizona)
Allonzo Trier (Arizona)
Dwayne Bacon (Florida State)
Stanley Johnson (Arizona)
Kelly Oubre (Kansas)
Justice Winslow (Duke)
James Young (Kentucky)
Wayne Selden (Kansas)
Glenn Robinson (Michigan)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia)
Like I mentioned before, you could find a player you think is similar to Lewis, see their stats, and figure that Lewis might roughly have the same production.
However, if we’re looking to make the most accurate projection of what Lewis is going to put up stat-wise there’s a logical next step.
This list of players includes everyone who profiled similarly to Lewis in the categories I listed before, no one was left off because they were a major outlier or anything. With this being a decent sample of players similar to Lewis I thought it would make sense to take all their numbers and average it out. By averaging the stats of all these players we should get a pretty good look at what to expect from Lewis.
Projected Scottie Lewis Numbers
70.2% Free Throw
45.1% Field Goal
At first glance these numbers actually look like a really solid projection for Lewis, which I suppose they should be since they are based off extremely similar players.
I think the point total of 12.2 is believable for me. Lewis isn’t an elite scorer at the point in his career but he’s explosive near the rim and is destined to get easy buckets off sprinting in transition and cutting off of Andrew Nembhard and Kerry Blackshear Jr.
Lewis is a monster rebounder and I could see him surpassing the 4.8 total but at the same time that number isn’t bad at all and I’m not sure how many boards he’ll be able to rip away from Keyontae Johnson and Kerry Blackshear Jr.
The percentages the projection would suggest also look really good to me. There are a lot of believers in Lewis as a 3-point shooter and there is certainly a chance he’s able to knock them down at a clip much better than 32.7% but I think he’s yet to prove total consistency and I’m going to go with the fact that wings don’t historically shoot great as freshmen.
Where I do think these numbers are off is when it comes to the steal category. Lewis could very well be the best defender in this class and I think within Mike White’s system he’s going to be flying around and getting his fingertips on a ton of balls. The 0.9 number definitely seems low to me and I expect him to be much higher.
While these projections seem to be solid it’s important to note that numbers don’t always tell the whole story and what makes Lewis such a great player is his impact in ways that don’t show up in the box score. They aren’t any good counting stats that are going to quantify his tireless effort on defense and there aren’t any numbers that are going to properly demonstrate his will to win. Most importantly, there aren’t any analytics that will properly showcase how good of a leader he is on and off the court. The way this projection looks seems quite accurate to me and what I would guess Lewis puts up this year but he’s a player that will do whatever it takes to win and that could mean sacrificing individual numbers for a deep run in March. We’ll have to wait a few months to see what he’s really capable of but until then these numbers might help you get a glimpse of what to expect.