Lewis looking to build off Sunday's sharp-shooting performance

Jason Malloy
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Morgan Lewis, right, takes a shot over Brent Jennings before the start of Island Storm practice Wednesday at UPEI.

 

Sunday was the game Morgan Lewis had been waiting for.

The Island Storm's 29-year-old guard is coming back off a torn Achilles tendon, which occurred during a summer league game in Hamilton, Ont.

Surgery and being in a cast for few months were followed by rehab and physiotherapy.

The Storm signed Lewis in January, and he has played 13 games, averaging 7.7 points.

But Sunday, in Saint John, N.B., the National Basketball League of Canada's first ever draft pick scored a season-high 21.

"I was kind of waiting for one of those games," Lewis said before Wednesday's practice, "to let me know that I can still compete at a high level and be very productive."

Lewis went 7-for-8 from the field, including 6-for-6 on his three-point attempts.

"To a basketball player, there are not too many better feelings where you go unconscious and everything you throw up goes in," he said.

Lewis described the road back from injury to be a "grind" but said he was fortunate to have Storm head coach Joe Salerno's support.

"Luckily, coach has been around this league for a while and he's seen me play and knows what I am capable of," Lewis said. "He put a lot of trust in me and no pressure, and I think that's why I am slowly starting to ease back into things."

Salerno said he knew it would take time for Lewis to get his strength back and up to game speed. He estimates Lewis is at 75 per cent of where they hope he gets this season.

"We brought him in here to be an offensive weapon, as he's always been in this league," Salerno said. "He's slowly, but surely, building towards that, and I think Saint John was that break-out game he needed."

Lewis and the Storm are expecting a different game tonight at 7 p.m. when they host the Saint John Mill Rats after a 137-92 win on Sunday.

"I know they're going to be looking for some revenge because we gave them a pretty good butt-whooping over in Saint John," Lewis said. "I think we're starting to get everything rolling and starting to click and mesh as a team."

The Storm has won three of its last four games and four of its last six.

Lewis said the players are buying into the coaching staff's systems and it's paying off. Lewis said the passing of the transaction deadline on Tuesday also has a benefit.

He said it gives the players a sense of security and allows them to know the guys in the room are the ones they will be grinding out the rest of the season with.

"Guys don't have that voice in the back of their mind, saying, 'Oh, I hope I don't get cut,'" Lewis said.

The six-foot-four guard who is lighter than 200 pounds is a Painesville, Ohio, native, who now lives in Toronto. He has played three seasons in the NBL, including being a part of the London Lightning's 2012-13 title run.

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, London Lightning

Geographic location: Saint John, Hamilton, Painesville, Ohio Toronto

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