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‘It made me the man I am today’: Iowa State’s Lewis trying to overcome early-season struggles

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AMES, Ia. — About 20 minutes after perhaps his best game of the season, Iowa State guard Terrence Lewis stood in a hallway at Hilton Coliseum and started reminiscing about some of his tougher times on the court. Lewis was once buried on Iowa State’s bench being passed over for playing time by a pair of freshmen.

“I wouldn’t say it was tough,” Lewis said of the struggles. “It made me the man I am today.”

Lewis is trying to make the most of the opportunities he’s getting now. Another big one could be coming when Iowa State plays No. 2-ranked Baylor at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.

“He’s an elite back-cutter, and that’s going to be important in this game Wednesday night,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm. “He made good shots (against Oklahoma in a win Saturday), he took good shots. He competed, and now he’s got to carry it over and do it again the next day.”

That consistency has been the biggest issue for Lewis. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound guard from Wisconsin game to Iowa State as an elite long-range shooter in high school. But during his first two seasons, he struggled to get playing time. This season, he’d been passed over by freshmen Caleb Grill and Tre Jackson. But his shooting woes and defensive issues weren’t the only pain points.

“I’m just trying to get him ready to compete once he walks out these doors,” Prohm said. “That’s really what I’m trying to do with Terrence. I mean, basketball is basketball. I’m just trying to get him ready to compete. Compete as a young adult. That’s my No. 1 thing with Terrence and try to pour into him and get him to understand things that everything you do needs to be able to translate to life success, not just college.

“What are you doing to put yourself when you leave here to be successful? You can’t ask like this. You can’t do this. You can’t do this. And trying to help him mature and grow.”

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Lewis acknowledges he had to make improvements.

“Just minor mistakes I just had to keep working on,” Lewis said.

Prohm said it’s about Lewis making sure he’s ready to play on a consistent basis. Lately, Lewis has been showing that he has. During Iowa State’s loss to Iowa, he was one of the few bright spots, scoring seven points off the bench.

Lewis added 11 points against Purdue Fort Wayne. He filled in as a starter when Tyrese Haliburton missed the Florida A&M game and scored 10 points. Most recently, against the Sooners, Lewis scored eight of Iowa State’s 10 points during a key stretch in the first half that helped the Cyclones on the way to an 81-68 win. 

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“I have my reasons with Terrence,” Prohm said. “If you talk to him, I’m trying to help him grow and mature in a lot of different areas. The days he’s ready, he’s been good for us. I thought he was terrific the other night.”

The strong showing could be a critical moment.

“It brings a lot of confidence in me,” Lewis said. “It brings a lot of confidence in my coach. Just having that trust in coach Prohm, that means a lot.”

The goal is now to keep that trust.

“I never gave up on my dream,” Lewis said. “This is big for me right now. I’m just going to be humble with it and wrap it up and move forward.”    

Source: Des Moines Register