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Butler officially finds its next floor leader

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at www.twitter.com/Tom101010.

Lewis will replace Barlow following next season

Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 6:34 am

To say that Butler men’s basketball coach Brandon Miller relied heavily upon junior point guard Alex Barlow last season would be a gross understatement. The first-year coach had Barlow running his offense for at least 35 minutes in 17 of the Bulldogs’ 31 games, including an astounding 10 times in which Barlow played at least 40 minutes, as Butler played in seven overtime periods this season.

But with Barlow, as well as senior Jackson Aldridge, graduating following next season, coupled with the transfer of freshman Rene Castro, Butler was in need of finding its point guard of the future this spring and Miller accomplished that task recently.

Former North Carolina State guard Tyler Lewis announced last month that he would be transferring to Butler, but made it official on Friday by signing a financial aid agreement. He will be eligible beginning with the 2015-16 season.

“We are thrilled about the addition of Tyler Lewis to our program” Miller said in a release. “He has shown great ability to run a team, play unselfishly and distribute and take care of the ball at a high level both in high school and college.”

Lewis was a key piece in the Wolfpack’s 22-win season this year. The 5-foot-11 guard played nearly 20 minutes per game and started 18 times. He averaged just 4.4 points per game, but North Carolina State had just a pair of double figure scorers.

Lewis led the Wolfpack in assists and set a North Carolina State single season record for assist/turnover ratio (3.55). He originally was going to visit several schools for consideration of his final two seasons of eligibility, but after meeting with the Butler staff and touring the campus and Hinkle Fieldhouse last month, Lewis quickly settled on the Bulldogs.

“Butler basketball sells itself,” Miller told The News-Sentinel recently. “I don’t do a ton of selling. You talk about Butler. You talk about all of the benefits that you get from going to school here. The education that you’ll get, the degree that you walk away with.”

His two seasons with North Carolina State followed a prep career at nationally renowned Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, where he capped his high school career with being selected as a McDonald’s All-American.

Lewis was named as the 2012 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year after his senior season, where he guided Oak Hill to a perfect 44-0 season.

“We are excited about his ability to impact our basketball program,” Miller said. “He compliments our current team and our incoming class extremely well.”

The Bulldogs have also added incoming freshmen Kelan Martin (6-foot-6 forward), Tyler Wideman (6-foot-7 forward), and Jackson Davis (6-foot-8 forward), as well as Indiana transfer Austin Etherington (6-foot-6, guard).