The game’s final 64 seconds were not for Chavaughn Lewis.
With Manhattan up 16 in the game’s final moments, the 6’5″ senior was called to the bench for the last time. The Marist senior compiled 2,119 points, a new school record and ranking sixth on the all-time MAAC scoring list.
But this moment wasn’t about his team-high 22 points and seven rebounds, it was time to embrace his head coach Mike Maker on the court for the last time. It was time for him to embrace assistant coach Paul Lee, who has said Lewis is like one of his sons, knowing that he won’t grace the court in Marist red and white for the last time.
“It was just such an amazing journey, a humbling experience and I learned so much about this experience,” Lewis said. “It was a long journey, a tough one, but I learned a lot and just, I’m honored to be a part of a program like this and hopefully make an impact on something that’s going to be special.”
The senior battled through plenty of obstacles on a team that fired head coach Chuck Martin in his second season and endured a third change when Jeff Bower left for the Detroit Pistons and Mike Maker was hired this past summer. His teams have endured losing streaks of at least eight games in each of his four seasons, yet their team still battled and won 43 of their 126 games. Yet Lewis has met the challenge and his resolve has helped carry the Red Foxes through their four seasons.
“I give the credit to my parents, the way they brought me up is to always fight and telling me that life is going to have a lot of obstacles and to show who you are to the people who actually fight through it and actually succeed through the troubling times, I mean that’s what I did,” Lewis said. “I’m proud of myself for that and that kind of brought me to tears in the locker room when coach kind of congratulated me on my achievements, because it was such a tough journey. To see that I actually gave everything I can and I left it all on the court, I’m actually proud of myself for that.”
The Red Foxes swept the Buffalo trip for the first time in their history this season, including a road win which he scored a career-high 35 points. Marist won a tournament game for the second time in his career, taking the first round game over Quinnipiac, before falling to the third seed. Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello made sure he stopped Lewis on the handshake line to tell him how much he appreciated his accomplishments.
“I think Chavaughn is one of the most gifted scorers in the country,” Masiello said. “He’s handled himself in a class act his whole career.”
“That’s a young man you just want to see good things happen for because of the way he handles himself: win, lose, he’s a class act. He’s a professional, he’s a talented player, I have so much respect for him and you just want to see guys like that have success as they move on in life.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.