Feb 24, 2018; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Terrence Lewis (24) dribbles up the floor during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
There are two sides to every coin and there are two sides to being a freshman in the Big 12.
While Lindell Wigginton has emerged as one of the best young players in the country this season, his classmate Terrence Lewis — the only other member of Iowa State’s 2017 signing class — has struggled to find his stride as a rookie.
The 6-foot-6, 188-pound former four-star recruit was a two-time city player of the year in Milwaukee, scored more than 1,800 points in his prep career and shot better than 55-percent from 3-point range. That high school success hasn’t translated to the collegiate level so far as he is shooting just 25 percent from deep, 29 percent from the field and averaging 3.1 points in 9.7 minutes per game.
“You can be a great shooter and shoot poorly then you’ve got to evaluate your shot selection,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said on Monday. “I think you’ve got to break that down and evaluate that to help him. You try to give these guys good freedom so they’re not looking over their shoulder, ‘should I shoot, should I not shoot,’ but they’ve got to grow from a maturity standpoint of knowing a good shot, bad shot.”
Lewis, who scored 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting in 34 minutes on Saturday at West Virginia, is still learning how to recognize the difference between good shots and bad shots. That isn’t overly surprising when you consider the success he had as a prep and the fact that he was his high school team’s best offensive threat.
Lewis had to shoot the ball a lot for his team to win. Some kids are able to find a balance and work their way out of that early in their college careers, some aren’t. For the ones who can’t, they have to learn the margin for error is so much smaller in college — specifically in the Big 12 — than it is in the Milwaukee Conference.
“Being a freshman’s tough. To me, that’s normal. I’ve coached for a long time and coached some freshmen that had outstanding freshman years,” Prohm said. “I think he has made a lot of strides, but there still is a long way to go. I think the great thing about it is I think he wants to get there. He understands that.”
It is awfully easy to look at what Wigginton has done in his freshman season and call Lewis a disappointment at this point in his career. Heck, the kid literally went an entire month without making a 3-pointer and many people felt that would be the biggest thing he could bring to this year’s roster.
With that said, we have seen a lot of Cyclones struggle during their freshman year then go onto have outstanding careers. Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas both come to mind in that respect.
The talent that allowed Lewis to have all that success in high school is still in there. If he continues to work and buy into what he’s being taught, chances are he will have the career many people expected when he arrived in Ames after his days at Riverside High.
He and Wigginton can still combine for one helluva backcourt in the coming seasons. There are two sides to being a freshman in the Big 12.
“He knows right and wrong when you ask him in film the next day so now it’s just got to become habitual. The habits got to be in place,” Prohm said. “It’s just going to be a process with him, but I think if he’s all in, he’s going to get there because he has a very good upside.”