Hazel Green grad Kira Lewis Jr. announced Tuesday that he will forego his final two seasons of college eligibility at Alabama and keep his name in the 2020 NBA Draft. Lewis, who is projected as a mid-first round pick, will look to become the 16th player in program history to hear his named called in the first round of the NBA Draft, which will take place this year on June 25, 2020.
“My continuous prayers are with our world during these uncertain times as we experience the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lewis said through his social media post. “For as long as I can remember, playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine. I am truly thankful for the love and support shown by my coaches, teachers, trainers, teammates and fans. To my parents: Thank you for always believing in me and being in my corner no matter the circumstances. I would like to thank the University of Alabama staff – present and former – for allowing a kid from Meridianville, Ala., to live out his dream of playing college basketball. Lastly, to all of my supporters: Y’all have made this a memorable experience and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Lewis is coming off a sensational sophomore campaign on his way to earning First Team All-SEC and First Team United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District honors. A two-time SEC Player of the Week, he led the Crimson Tide in scoring (18.5 ppg), assists (5.2 apg), steals (1.8 spg), minutes (37.6 mpg) and field goals made (206) and attempted (449) this past season. Additionally, he paced the SEC in minutes, ranked third in assists and steals, and finished fourth in scoring average.
The 19-year-old point guard ranked as one of the top transition players in all of college basketball. His 5.1 transition points per game were fourth-best among all Division I players this past season.
“We are excited for Kira and his family,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “Whichever team drafts Kira will be getting a special player. He’s the fastest kid from one end of the floor to the other that I’ve ever coached. The NBA has gone to a game of pace and getting up-and-down, so I think he fits the direction the league is going. He is a great kid who wants to be in the gym and get better. I think he’s going to help a team. The fact that he’s only just turned 19 years old and has played two years of college basketball gives him a high potential. I think someone will take him in the first round, and I’d love to see him go as high as possible.”
For his two-year career, Lewis, who started all 65 games across his freshman and sophomore seasons, collected 1,013 points (15.9 ppg), 260 assists (4.0 apg) and 84 steals (1.3 spg). He became just the second Alabama men’s basketball player in program history to eclipse 1,000 points for his career, joining only James "Hollywood" Robinson. A member of the 2019 SEC All-Freshman Team, Lewis played his rookie campaign as the youngest men’s basketball player in all of Division I that season.
Lewis was of 12 members who made up the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team roster that won the gold medal last summer in Greece.