EL PASO, Texas – At 17, KJ Lewis is not yet old enough to open his own checking account. But this weekend, he received a job offer that would earn him $ 500,000 that would change his life.
But Lewis’s maturity showed beyond his years by the fact that he said no.
Chapin’s junior shooting guard told ABC-7’s Nate Ryan that he was offered a spot in the Overtime Elite Showcase Preparation League, which would require him to drop out of high school and move on. waive eligibility for university. Overtime Elite offered Lewis a salary of $ 500,000 to play in the professional league, but Lewis declined the offer.
Lewis says the deciding factor was his desire to play college basketball.
“As a kid, I always told my mom I wanted the college experience,” Lewis said. “Going to football games, having a full arena, I want to have all of these college experiences.”
“March Madness is just all about the college basketball kids dream of being. I want to experiment trying to win a national championship. I want to experience all of these things. ‘has passed.”
In addition to relinquishing college eligibility, Lewis should have moved to league headquarters in Atlanta by the end of the month.
“Atlanta is a long way off,” Lewis added of a potential move. “And I would have to move in like two days because I was supposed to be there in September if I was going. It was just a lot.”
Consensus among the top 50 national basketball rookies of the 2023 class, Lewis can now focus on his attention to help the Chapin Huskies return to the 5A Texas State basketball tournament. Lewis, the reigning Urban Player of the Year, led Chapin to the regional semi-finals last season.
Overtime Elite is part of a new wave of player development that seeks to focus on preparing players at the professional level. Supported financially by NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Trae Young, Overtime Elite has already seen several top basketball rookies sign up on board.
Lewis’s 2023 classmate Tyler Smith, ranked No.8 overall by ESPN in the national rankings, signed with Overtime Elite on Sunday.
But for Lewis, the chance to end his high school career and play in college is a matter of experience.
I couldn’t see myself dropping out of high school so soon, “Lewis says.” I wouldn’t have a prom, I wouldn’t have a senior night, I wouldn’t have any of that stuff. ”
Lewis’s college offer list grows daily, and on Monday afternoon alone, an offer from the eleven national champion UCLA Bruins was added.
In addition to UCLA, Lewis holds offers from Texas, Kansas, Baylor, Arizona State, Houston, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, UTEP and from the State of New Mexico, among others.
Lewis also tells ABC-7 that he is receiving strong interest from Arizona, Purdue, and the state of Oklahoma.