Clem Haskins's heart just about stopped cold when he heard the
words Quincy Lewis and jail in the same sentence. Haskins,
Minnesota's coach, was at his farm in Campbellsville, Ky., last
May when a stranger called to tell him that Lewis needed money
for bail. Haskins's ticker revived a moment later when Lewis
came on the line to explain that he wasn't really in jail but in
a makeshift holding area on campus where he was participating in
a fund-raiser for Easter Seals. "Scared the hell out of me,"
recalls Haskins, who gladly forked over the $50 to spring Lewis,
his best player. "He does so many civic-minded things, I can't
keep track of them. When he tells me he's going to do something,
I say, 'Can't it wait until next April?'"
Such is life when you're coaching Citizen Quincy, a lithe 6'7"
senior forward. Lewis is not only the top scorer in the Big Ten,
with a 22.7 average through Sunday for the 19th-ranked Golden
Gophers (12-4), but is also the vice chairman of Minnesota's
He's a student of the game, too, relying on prudent shot
selection and movement without the ball to get open. "Quincy
isn't a leaper or a dunker, but he can score," says Haskins,
noting that Lewis makes nearly 40% of his three-point shots.
"That's why to me he's a lottery pick. There's not a better
shooter in the country, night in and night out."
Haskins's biggest gripe about Lewis is Lewis's reluctance to
shoot more, but that's just a natural extension of Lewis's
desire to blend in with his surroundings wherever he goes. He
rarely wears athletic garb away from the gym, and he makes a
point of attending other sports events on campus like any other
undergraduate. "I want folks to see me as a student, not just a
basketball player," Lewis says. "There's more to life than
February 1, 1999
Lewis fulfills his extracurricular responsibilities with the
same efficiency he brings to the court. He rises every day at 7
a.m.--even on weekends--and juggles his chores with the help of
daily To Do lists. "He's got 12 things done by 11 o'clock, and I
haven't even brushed my teeth yet," says Gophers forward Miles
Tarver, who is Lewis's roommate. In December, Lewis ran a food
drive that was put together by the student-athlete council. He
makes frequent visits to Twin Cities-area hospitals (below, at
the Fairview Medical Center) and schools and has been known to
cook dinner in his apartment so university administrators and
students can get to know each other better.
Coming out of Parkview High in Little Rock, Ark., Lewis was an
important reserve in his first two seasons at Minnesota. As a
sophomore in the 1997 NCAA Midwest Regional final he came off
the bench to score 15 points to help the Gophers defeat UCLA and
send them to their first Final Four in school history. Lewis
averaged 14.5 points last season, even though he spent much of
his time in the paint because of Minnesota's lack of size up
front. With the arrival this season of 7'1" freshman Joel
Przybilla, Lewis is finally able to play on the perimeter, where
he's most effective. Last week he went for 30 points in a
victory over Michigan and had 29 in the game before that, a
defeat of Iowa.
Lewis is on target to graduate in May with a degree in
environmental studies. The NBA is probably in his future, but if
it isn't, well, there's more to life than just basketball. "I've
grown a lot as a player but even more as a person," he says. "My
parents taught me to be offended if someone says I'm just a
jock. Basketball comes and goes, but the things I've
accomplished here will take me much further in life."