Florida basketball star Scottie Lewis declares for 2021 NBA Draft, signs with agent

By Adam Silverstein
April 1, 2021
Florida basketball star Scottie Lewis declares for 2021 NBA Draft, signs with agent
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Florida Gators sophomore guard Scottie Lewis on Thursday night became the third member of the program to declare for the 2021 NBA Draft. Lewis is the second of those three players to sign with an agent, meaning he will be unable to return to school next season.

“Playing in the NBA has always been my main priority in life. And with that being said I am happy to announce that I have made the decision to take the next step in my career by signing with an agent and declaring for the NBA draft,” he wrote in an Instagram post.

Lewis posted 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game this season, all declines from his freshman-year averages. He started the first eight games of the season and registered double-digit point totals in five of the team’s first six games, averaging 14 points in those contests. However, he only started one of the team’s final 13 games, scored in double digits twice in the remaining 15 games and averaged 5.4 points over the final three months of the season.

Lewis checked his NBA Draft grade after his freshman campaign, and though he ultimately returned to Florida, it was expected that he would have a breakout sophomore season and leave. However, given that he did not perform up to expectation and instead steadily declined, his decision to sign with an agent is a surprise.

“Gator nation!!!! it has been an absolute honor being able to have that gator logo across my chest day in and day out. It was a true blessing being able to represent everyone from the alum and rowdy reptiles to the boosters and everyoen else that supported us and our journey. I am beyond grateful for everything that we have accomplished and every moment will be cherished,” Lewis added.

“I know that I will be moving on to a new place and if god is willing ot a new team but please know that Gainesville and the Stephen O’Connell arena will always have a special place in my heart!”

Lewis joins sophomore point guard Tre Mann as Gators who have declared for the NBA Draft and signed with an agent. While Mann is widely considered to be a future first-round pick and potential but unlikely lottery selection, Lewis is not ranked among the top 100 prospects in the draft.

Junior forward Colin Castleton also declared for the draft this week, though he did not sign with an agent. As such, he will be able to withdraw his name and return to Florida should he not receive a high enough draft grade. As with Lewis, Castleton is not listed among the draft’s top 100 prospects.

The departure of Lewis is not necessarily a shock considering the Gators head coach Mike White is hemorrhaging talent at this time; however, most believed if Lewis did leave the program, it would be via the transfer portal.

Sophomore F Omar Payne, junior G Noah Locke, junior F Osayi Osifo and sophomore PG Ques Glover make up the four Florida players currently in the transfer portal. All could decide to come back to the program and are not forced to depart after entering the portal, though such returns are not common.

The Gators are still waiting on official word from junior F Keyontae Johnson, the 2020 Preseason SEC Player of the Year whose season ended in December after he collapsed minutes into a road game against Florida State. Johnson was ruled out for the season but remained with the team in a bench advisory role; he has not yet announced his long-term health status and whether he could return to play at UF or elsewhere.

If all the players in the portal leave along with Mann and Lewis, the Gators will be down six scholarship players in one offseason assuming no additional departures. That’s with the statuses of Johnson and Castelton up in the air. If both do not return to the program for one reason or another, Florida would be down eight scholarship players.

Florida is only welcoming in a single freshman as part of the Class of 2021, four-star G Kowacie Reeves. Though White has done a fantastic job acquiring players off the portal throughout his tenure with the Gators, that is not how a coach should be assembling two-thirds of his roster six years into his career at a university.

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