McClellan, Lewis excited to team up as Longhorns
By Kevin Flaherty
FOXSportsSouthwest.com and LonghornDigest.com
Playing the same position in roughly the same area, Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis have been opponents more than once in their careers.
But now, both shooting guards will team up and take their games to Austin, after signing a National Letter of Intent with the Texas basketball squad earlier this week.
“It feels really good right now,” McClellan said. “I’ve been waiting for this day ever since I committed.”
Both players have been committed for quite a while. McClellan committed in May 2009, at the end of his sophomore year of high school. Lewis wasn’t far behind, committing in June after standing out at the Texas Elite camp.
“I just loved the coaches,” Lewis said. “They cared about me, and were asking what my grades were and things like that. I also really got along with the players there.”
One of the players Lewis became friends with was McClellan, who played less than an hour away. Bellaire is on the outer edges of Houston, while La Marque is between Houston and Galveston.
The duo had more than location and college choice in common. They also played the same position, and put up nearly identical numbers.
McClellan averaged 20 points per game for Bellaire (TX) High School, leading the school to a 35-2 record and a spot in the Class 5A regional finals.
Lewis averaged 19.8 points and three steals per game for La Marque (TX) High School and earned District 24-4A Player of the Year honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons.
“We hit it off,” McClellan said. “We just talk about what we’re going to do at Texas, how we’re going to do both class-wise and what we’re going to do on the court.”
A smooth scorer with an all-around game, McClellan was rated as Scout.com’s No. 12 shooting guard.
“McClellan is a bigger guard, about 6-foot-5, possibly 6-6, and he’s just a scorer,” said Evan Daniels, Scout.com recruiting analyst. “He’s a pretty good shooter, but he can also attack the basket and mix it up a little.”
Lewis, meanwhile, has developed a reputation as a great shooter. He is ranked as Scout.com’s No. 23 shooting guard.
“The first thing I noticed was his ability to shoot the basketball,” Daniels said. “He has range well past the three point line has a quick trigger and a great release. Nationally, he’s probably pretty underrated as a shooter.”
That assessment meshes with Lewis’s thoughts of his own game, a clutch player who can take over a game when it’s time. McClellan added that Lewis’s athleticism, effort and defense are underrated as well. Lewis also had admiration for McClellan’s game.
“He’s a really good player,” Lewis said of McClellan.
The same can be said for all of Texas’s signees, which includes Scout.com’s No. 2 rated point guard in Myck Kabongo and top-notch big man Jonathan Holmes.
“I feel like Julien and I will be a good combo,” McClellan said. “We’re two guards who can score and who play hard. You have one of the best point guards in the country in Myck and one of the best big men in the country (in Holmes) and we have a really good group.”
Lewis said he was “really upbeat” about getting to play with such a stellar cast.
“I wish I could leave in December with those guys,” Lewis said. “I’m ready to get mentally focused, put in the work, go up there and do some damage.”
Daniels said McClellan and Lewis have the tools to do just that.
“What Texas landed in those two was a pair of great scoring guards and wings,” Daniels said. “They’ll really be able to put the ball in the basket as soon as they get to Austin.”
For McClellan, that moment can’t get here soon enough, and he added a prediction about next year’s results.
“I can’t wait,” McClellan said. “We’re going to take it all.
“I hope they win it this year,” McClellan said. “But if not, we’ll take it all next year.”