NEW ORLEANS — Hazel Green alumnus Kira Lewis was selected with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. Lewis became the second Crimson Tide point guard to be taken in the lottery in the last three NBA drafts, joining Collin Sexton, and increased UA’s program totals to 16 first-round draft picks and 44 all-time draft picks.
A sophomore that earned All-SEC first-team honors, Lewis led Alabama 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) in 2019-20. The only UA player to have started all 31 contests this past season, Lewis led the SEC in minutes, ranking third in assists and steals and fourth in scoring average.
Lewis excelled in first-year head coach Nate Oats’ system, which resulted in the Meridianville, Ala., native hearing his name called in the first round of tonight’s NBA draft. Playing point guard in an offense that is similar to what he will see at the next level also benefited Lewis.
“I think Kira is a really talented kid,” Oats said. “I think the way the NBA is played now, with how spread out, wide open it is and you can’t put your hands on people defensively. With him having the speed he’s got, the skill level he’s got, he can get in the paint whenever he wants, make plays. He was great in our system. We play a lot more wide open like the NBA is playing.
“I think he’s gonna be a really, really good NBA player.”
Prior to his sophomore season, Lewis was a member of Team USA, which participated in and won the FIBA 2019 Men’s Basketball U19 World Cup in Greece. The United States defeated Mali, 93-79, to win gold -- the seventh time for Team USA in the U19 tournament’s history. He averaged 4.0 points, 1.6 assists and 1.1 rebounds per game during the tournament.
Lewis was also a star in his first year in Tuscaloosa when he was the youngest player in D-I for the 2018-19 season. He started and played in all 34 contests on his way to earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team and led the Tide in assists (2.9 apg), 20-point games (5) and minutes (31.6 mpg), while ranking third in three-point field goal percentage (.358).