Lewis declares for NBA Draft, can return to JMU

Matt Lewis has a chance to become James Madison's all-time leading scorer.
Matt Lewis has a chance to become James Madison's all-time leading scorer.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 8:08 PM EDT
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Junior guard Matt Lewis of the James Madison men's basketball team has announced plans to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft while maintaining his ability to withdraw from the process and retain his final year of collegiate eligibility.

"I want to thank God, my family, friends and coaches for all of their support," Lewis said. "After much consideration, I have decided to enter my name into the 2020 NBA Draft while maintaining my eligibility. I'm looking forward to learning from this experience."

In his first three seasons at JMU, Lewis has already written himself into the program record books, scoring 1,574 points though his junior year, already fourth on the Dukes' all-time scoring chart. He also ranks sixth all-time at JMU with 195 career made three-pointers and third all-time with 411 made free throws.

This past season, Lewis set new career marks for field-goal percentage (41.0%), three-point percentage (37.3%), rebounding (5.5/game) and assists (3.4/game). For the year, Lewis was the only player in the CAA to rank among the league's top 12 in all three of scoring, rebounding and assists.

"I'm very happy for Matt to go through this process," Head Coach Mark Byington said. "He has my full support and we've been in constant communication throughout. His dream is to play in the NBA and, if he's able to realize that dreram now, that will be wonderful. If not, I look forward to his senior year at JMU and helping his achieve his dreams next year."

By declaring himself eligible for the draft, Lewis will have the ability to work out and receive evaluations and feedback from NBA teams on how best to improve his chances of competing in the NBA. Lewis is permitted to retain his eligibility and return to college for his senior season in 2020-21 should he opt to withdraw from the NBA Draft.

College underclassmen who want to retain their collegiate eligibility are currently required to do so by June 3. The NBA Draft is tentatively scheduled for June 25.