Justin Lewis declares for NBA Draft, maintains eligibility


Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis in Marquette men’s basketball loss to No. 4 UCLA Dec. 11.

Marquette men’s basketball redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis provided fans with the answer that they have been waiting for since the Golden Eagles first round exit from the NCAA Tournament.

Lewis announced on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, that he will be declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft and signing with an agent but will be maintaining his NCAA eligibility throughout the process.

“My two years on campus have truly been a blessing and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to become a Golden Eagle and I am thankful each and every day for the opportunity the university has provided me and my family,” Lewis said in the post. “I want to thank Coach Wojciechowski, Coach Smart and all of the coaches, teammates, support staff and fans who made my time at Marquette so special. I have not only become a better basketball player, but also a better man, and I couldn’t have done it without you.

“It’s always been my dream to play in the NBA and I feel I am ready to explore that next step of my career. I will be declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft and signing with an agent, while maintaining my eligibility throughout the process. It will always be #WeAre!!”

The 6-foot-7 Lewis was named the BIG EAST Most Improved Player this season after averaging 17.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season. In his first year season in 2020-21, Lewis averaged 7.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21 games.

Additionally, Lewis earned ALL-BIG EAST First Team honors after leading the conference in scoring at 18.2 points in league play.

While Lewis has declared for the NBA Draft and signed with an agent, he does not forgo the remaining of his NCAA eligibility as he is maintaining it during this process. By keeping his eligibility, Lewis signed with an NCAA approved agent who is able to represent a Division I men’s basketball player while helping his/her prospects try to compete in the NBA according to the NCAA’s revised rule back in 2018.

Lewis has until June 1 to withdraw and maintain his NCAA eligibility.

If Lewis does choose to return, it would add an extra layer of experience for Marquette next season in Year 2 of the Shaka Smart Era. It would also mean Lewis should be an early favorite for BIG EAST Player of the Year next season.

But for now, Marquette loses its leading scorer and rebounder from this season. With activity in the transfer portal and the start of the late signing period beginning, Smart and his staff will now look to replace four spots from the 2021-22 roster as Darryl Morsell, Kur Kuath and Greg Elliott will graduate next month.

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.