Local Tryout Pays Off
Former Legend Vernon Lewis Signs with Czech Republic Pro League
Vernon Lewis’ story is not that of a typical professional basketball player. When Lewis walked into local tryouts for the Texas Legends two years ago, he had never played a full season of organized basketball. Despite an unconventional beginning, Lewis found himself in a Legends’ uniform last season and has now signed a contract to play overseas.
Lewis graduated high school in 2001, having spent four years on the football field as opposed to the hardwood. It wasn’t until his time at Paul Quinn College that he decided to give basketball a shot and immediately fell in love with the sport. In 2011, after honing his skills on the neighborhood courts, Lewis joined a group of Dallas-area free agents on an exhibition tour to China where he first met Legends’ assistant coach Tyler Gatlin. In China, Lewis averaged 11.4 points and 12.7 rebounds per game, which earned him a place at local tryouts for the Legends. Although his first tryout did not land him a spot on the Legends’ roster, the coaching staff kept him close. Lewis spent the 2011-12 season as a practice player for the Legends while balancing a spot with the ABA North Dallas Vandals.
With the Vandals, Lewis averaged 6.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in four games. With this experience under his belt, he went back to tryout for the Legends the following year and grabbed the attention of the coaching staff. A mere three years after venturing into the sport, Lewis earned an invitation to training camp with the Legends and was subsequently drafted in the eighth round of the 2012 D-League Draft.
Lewis played in 42 games for the Legends last season and came off the bench to add 2.6 ppg and 3.5 rpg. On a team full of NBA veterans with four future NBA Call-Ups, Lewis said he was constantly challenged and found himself developing both on and off the court.
“I’m extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to play in the D-League, especially on a team with such a wide array of experience and excellence in both the staff and roster. Playing in the NBADL has been a goal of mine since I first got involved in professional basketball and the experience I gained was priceless to my career” Lewis said of his time with the Legends.
Last week Lewis received the call to take another step in his pro career. With Gatlin still by his side, this time as an advisor, he received an offer to play in the Czech Republic and will spend the next year as the starting forward for the SLUNETA Usti nad Labem of the Czech Republic National League.
“I want to thank the Texas Legends organization for believing in me and working with me every day to improve as a basketball player. I am very grateful for the opportunity and look forward to starting a new chapter of my career in the Czech Republic” Lewis said.
From local tryouts to an overseas contract, the 30 year-old forward has pushed through the odds to keep his dream alive. The Legends will host local tryouts for the 2013-14 season on September 7th-8th. For more information visit our tryout page.