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February 29, 2024

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Lewis goes in the out door

The shock and awe?

Ron Lewis was never overcome by such feelings when he arrived on the campus of Bowling Green State University to play basketball for head coach Dan Dakich.

In fact, Lewis pretty much shocked and awed everyone during his first two seasons, starting and averaging 12.5 points fresh out of Columbus Brookhaven High School and being named Second-team All-MAC as a sophomore while averaging 17 points per game.

Then, Lewis shocked and awed everyone once again when he decided to transfer and take his talent elsewhere.

Lewis’ decision to leave should not call into question his commitment or character, because he is only one of four players to have left the BGSU basketball program since last year.

Dakich is the type of coach that pays attention to detail and focuses on the fundamentals, and some players just don’t have the mental toughness it takes to succeed under Dakich.

Lewis’ reason for leaving had nothing to do with his mental toughness for all we know, rather it was his ambition which ultimately led to his departure.

“Ron expressed interest that he wanted to be a point guard,” Dakich said in a column by The Toledo Blade’s John Harris. “To make the NBA he needed to be a point guard and thought that someplace else he’d have a better opportunity to do that.”

Dakich obviously refused to abide by Lewis’s wishes and so he bolted, which should make us all proud that both have so much conviction.

However, what does call for concern is the direction mid-major athletics is headed in, and by mid-major I am referring to the school’s which lack the fan base, money, prestige, and recruiting power of a Duke, Kentucky, or North Carolina.

Those types of schools are accustomed to obtaining the best players, making them prohibitive favorites and perennial powerhouses.

Still, people cheered for the “small” schools, related to the players who weren’t offered scholarships to play in the Big Ten or ACC, and respected them because they weren’t driven by an insatiable desire to play in the NBA, NFL, or MLB (Major League Baseball) the moment they set foot on campus.

Mid-major athletics used to be the purest form, the chaste version of college sports, and we were sold on the idea that universities and coaches would place academics above athletics, and that athletes would sacrifice their individual goals for the good of the team.

Things haven’t completely changed in mid-major athletics, but to say all will go back to the way it once was would be as remiss as slipping in word of an impending meteor strike at the tail end of a weather report.

The more success mid-major schools start to have, the better recruits they attract.

With that comes the sad realization that more and more athletes will come in with one eye on making it to the pros and the other eye on improving their individual skills exceedingly and abundantly, even if it means sabotaging the team concept.

Lewis has the talent to make the NBA, but Dakich stuck to his guns and knew that if he had a player performing for pro scouts it would have alienated his other players, and went against his team-first philosophy.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard allowed his passion for playing in the NBA to overshadow his immediate purpose of helping the Falcons become a better basketball team.

There are many more athletes at mid-major schools with the same mentality, and it only gives credence to how many want to steadfastly maximize that potential, for better or for worse.

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