Michigan

Former Detroit Catholic Central basketball star picks San Diego


The Junior Guard spent the last two seasons with the Shamrocks. Before he plays his first game at Detroit King, he’s already landed with college.

It’s finally over.

And that’s a great thing for the Detroit King boys basketball team because they have high expectations, like competing for a Division 1 state championship and continuing their reign as one of Michigan’s top programs.

Chas Lewless made a verbal commitment to San Diego during a special ceremony Thursday afternoon at the high school.

The 6-foot-2 junior spent the last two years starting out as a point guard for Detroit Catholic Central. However, he switched to King during the off-season to play closer to home.

Recruiting can often be a tiresome game. And while Lewless wasn’t able to get any firm offers from colleges until earlier this year, he’s just glad the whole process is complete.

He locked his future home. He’s on his way to California. He becomes a torero. He could have stayed on the recruiting lane for a few more months and made his decision next summer. But he’s not.

Basketball is his main focus and winning games is paramount. Recruitment will not distract him or the Crusaders as they compete for their first-ever state title.

More:Lewless’ Farewell: Why “The State’s Best Point Guard” Left Detroit’s Catholic Headquarters

“I’m going to train in a minute and a college coach is going to call or something,” Lewless said. “I feel like it definitely helps because I’m 100% focused on the season now. I got it out of the way. So I’m just concentrating on a state championship with my boys. helps a lot because they get a better self. A better me is when I have no distractions and can just focus on basketball and school, and that’s it. It’s always better when I’m more focused.”

San Diego spared no expense in convincing Lewless to go for the bullfighters, who recently hired former UCLA and St. John’s coach Steve Lavin as head coach.

Lavin has developed 17 players who have been selected in the NBA draft over the years. The most important of them? Former third overall pick Baron Davis, a 6-3 point guard who went to Charlotte in 1999.

When Lavin’s staff brought Lewless on campus to visit, they told him he was the future face of the program, someone they would like to build a team around. Someone like Davis, a two-time NBA All-Star.

And you want to think that they use that spell on every recruit. But then they showed how much research they had done on Lewless.

They not only knew his game, but also his family. They specifically mentioned Lewless’ younger sister, Hannah, and asked about the state championship she recently won with the Royal Oak Shrine girls’ soccer team last spring.

More:Josh Ross, Detroit Catholic Central’s next big man, is already getting a triple team

“Which honestly blew my mind,” Lewless said. “I had no idea they even knew who she was. And really, that’s why it’s just a family atmosphere. I felt most comfortable there everywhere. During the recruitment process, they were the most transparent with me about what they were looking for and what they liked about me, so that’s really the main reason (I chose San Diego).”

Averaging 11 points and three assists, Lewless was an All-Catholic League selection for the Shamrocks a year ago, taking them to district and regional championships and a state quarterfinal appearance.

He has big shoes to fill at King as he is expected to replace 2022 Michigan Mr. Basketball winner Chansey Willis Jr. (Saginaw Valley State). And as a leader, Lewless has already been shouldered a lot of responsibility, even though he’s only been in the program for a few months.

Coach George Ward wants Lewless to be one of the best – if not the best – players in the state by the time he graduates.

“I treat all my players like I know they’re going to play in college,” Ward said. “I treat them like college basketball players. These are Division I college basketball players. No question. So I’m going to treat him like a pro now, worked on that.”

Ward hired assistants Carlos Carter, Keith Bates and Joe Mack to improve certain aspects of Lewless’ game over the summer. And the biggest improvement they got out of him was his defense.

“I think the people who see him play this season will see that defensively he’s a lot better than ever,” added Warded. “It comes from age, and it comes from just emphasizing it so much. He will now know what a good shot is. He will know what a great shot is. But he will understand how to play to win every second of the game. And I think that’s the difference to him at the moment.

More:With his pal by his side, Detroit Catholic Central’s TJ Nadeau should be an elite scorer

With pre-season training due to begin in just a few weeks, Lewless is ready to put recruitment behind him. He’s ready to focus on the Crusaders. He no longer worries about where his next offer will come from.

And Ward is happy for him too.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to get that out of the way because I don’t want him to stress about it,” Ward joked. “And Chas, after talking to him, he wasn’t stressed, but he was concerned. He looked around and said, ‘How come I’m not being recruited heavily?’ I always tell him you can only take one scholarship, in the first year you will only be in one school, so don’t worry about the quantity of the offers but about the quality and what suits you best.

“What I love today is that he doesn’t have to settle for anything. He doesn’t have to say at the back end, ‘Well, I guess I have to go here.’ He didn’t have to choose anything he didn’t want to go to. He didn’t have to commit to anything and that suits him really, really well.”

Brandon Folsom reports on high school sports in Metro Detroit for Hometown Life. Follow him on Twitter @folsombrandonj.

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