CHAPEL HILL, N.C., JULY 19 -- Cedric Lewis may be an inch or two taller than his brother, Derrick, but he knows that he forever will be the little brother. And it's a role he is looking forward to playing on the University of Maryland basketball team next season.
"I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Cedric Lewis said today after his East team defeated the West, 100-82, at the Smith Center in the second game of the U.S. Olympic Festival tournament. "If Derrick makes it in the pros, maybe I won't. Or he won't and I will. It's a chance to play together for the first time."
Derrick Lewis was a senior all-America at Carroll High School in Washington when his younger brother was playing on the freshman team. So Cedric Lewis already has filled his brother's shoes once. He has no concerns about trying to do it a second time at Maryland.
"Because we both played at the same high school, I feel like anywhere I go, I will be looked at as Derrick's younger brother," Lewis said. "I'll always be known as the little brother. I've grown to deal with it. We try to be our own person."
In today's game, Lewis scored only three points, but Flint Hill graduate Dennis Scott had 18, leading seven players in double figures as the East won.
Derrick Lewis, a 6-8 forward, led Maryland in scoring and rebounding last year and was named first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference. But while Lewis did well individually, Maryland floundered as a team, finishing 0-14 in the ACC.
"He didn't have to say too much," Cedric said. "I knew how he felt. No one likes to lose and Derrick was upset about losing so much. But I was glad he played the way he did."
Freshmen are usually optimistic, and Cedric Lewis is no different. "They never seemed to want to give up," he said of the 1986-87 team. "They had a positive attitude even though it was a losing season. I see us getting better. Last year was a losing season, but they lost half of the team. They're rebuilding the program and I think we have a chance to do well in the ACC."
Ironically, Lefty Driesell, who recruited Cedric Lewis before being forced to resign as coach last October in the wake of the cocaine-induced death of Len Bias, is coaching the East team in the Festival.
"He was recruiting me right before he left," Cedric Lewis said. "I had no idea he would have to leave. But I didn't have any negative feelings about him and I still don't."
Driesell wasn't the only coach after Lewis, a 6-foot-9, 200-pound center, who averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots per game as a senior at Carroll. "Cedric is a real good rebounder and defensive player," Driesell said. "He needs to work on his offensive moves and improve his scoring. But he's big and a strong kid and does a lot well. I kind of always thought you could teach a kid some offensive moves."
The Temple Hills resident generally agreed with that.
"I still have a lot of work to do with my offensive game," Lewis said. "It's not the weakest part of my game, but it needs a lot of work."
Lewis had narrowed his final choices to Maryland and Wake Forest. Why did it come down to Maryland in the end? "I really don't know," he said.
Maryland has been forced to used Derrick Lewis at center most of his career and badly needed help inside. In addition to Cedric Lewis, Coach Bob Wade recruited 6-10 Brian Williams of Santa Monica, Calif.
Lewis said the presence of another freshman center, even one regarded highly nationally, doesn't bother him.
"He committed about two or three weeks before I did," Lewis said of Williams. "But the more big men the merrier. If we have a lot of help inside it will help our chances of winning."
Despite the turmoil of the past 13 months at Maryland, Lewis said his parents left the decision to him.
"It was my decision and they just wanted me to be happy and get a good education," said Lewis, who said he plans to major in psychology. "I like to see what people are thinking about and what's in their mind."