EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Anyone who saw him play during freshman season at Chapin knows that KJ Lewis has great things ahead of him.
Lewis was arguably the best player in the city, averaging 17 points and six rebounds per game while leading the Huskies to the second round of the playoffs. College coaches are now starting to take notice.
Late Saturday night, Lewis tweeted out the news that he had received his first Division 1 offer from Rodney Terry and the hometown UTEP Miners. It’s the first local player Terry has extended an offer to and as Lewis prepares to enter his sophomore year, he’ll once again play for a high-profile AAU team that should boost his stock.
“I’m not going to lie, it took me by surprise getting it. It was mind-blowing,” Lewis told KTSM on Sunday morning.
His electrifying style of play that includes high-flying dunks, an intense on-court attitude and maturity beyond his years off of it all contribute to his current stature.
Lewis has been ranked as one of the best players in the country in the class of 2023 and while UTEP was the first, they surely won’t be the last to offer the phenom. He’s not the only player to see his stock rise this week, as El Paso continues to get put on the map.
Lewis might have been surprised by his first D1 offer, but it was a long-time coming for Chapin’s phenomenal freshman.
“His dream is bigger. He has the potential to be a major D1 player,” said Chapin head coach Rodney Lewis.
UTEP offering him in the months before his sophomore year is huge for Lewis. It shows other larger schools what they might be missing.
“Once you get that first offer, it puts a lot of colleges on notice, so I think I’ll get a bunch more offers soon,” said KJ Lewis.
His coach agreed.
“If you have plans on being major D1, it starts with UTEP. If UTEP doesn’t offer or recruit you, then other schools will overlook you,” said Rodney Lewis.
If the Miners taking notice of Lewis and other athletes like him can boost the players’ profile to schools on a national level, the same can be said for other universities. Take Burges junior running back Tavorus Jones, who was offered by Alabama on Thursday and had picked up three more D1 offers by Saturday.
“I thought it was a dream at first but it’s been very cool. I’m trying to stay humble, mainly just trying to stay humble about this,” said Jones.
Rodney Lewis was a bit more blunt.
“Alabama should come in here more often, they might find a few more players,” said Lewis.
With players like Jones, Lewis, Americas running back Aaron Dumas and plenty of others potentially on the fast track to a Power-5 school, their talent can help other El Pasoans get seen. Its a legacy that’s reached the highest heights of professional sports.
“When Aaron Jones throws up the 915, he’s not just doing it for Burges, he’s doing it for the whole city,” said Rodney Lewis. “You’ve got a responsibility not only to yourself and your family, you have a responsibility to your school and your community.”