Private school transfers bring new talent to boys basketball

By Lukas Troost

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Senior Jason Lewis has always wanted to play basketball in college. But after having limited playing time as the sixth man for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, he felt he wasn’t reaching his full potential, he said. He knew he could contribute more, so he decided to transfer to Whitman. In his fourth game as a Viking, Lewis finished the game with a team-high 20 points, more than he usually scored with St. Andrew’s. And just four months after transferring to Whitman, Lewis is committed to Case Western Reserve University.

“I wanted a bigger role for my senior year so I could stand out to college coaches more,” Lewis said. “I was only asked to do a couple things, so I think this year I’ll be able to show more people what I can actually do.”

Junior guard Jaden Pierce also transferred to Whitman this year from St. John’s College High School. His impressive defense and technical ball handling immediately impressed coach Christopher Lun at winter tryouts, Lun said. Pierce and Lewis both earned spots on the starting lineup.

Lun said he’s excited for what the new players will bring to the court.

“I think they’re obviously going to play a big role for us,” Lun said. “Jason gives us good outside scoring, and he’s kind of a sneaky athletic. Jaden’s one of the few guys we have that is going to be able to handle the ball against pressure. They’re definitely a big part of what we want to do.”

Pierce said that at St. John’s, the team was more guard-oriented, focusing on outside shooting. At Whitman, the roster size is more balanced, allowing them to speed up the pace of play. Like Lewis, Pierce transferred to get more playing time.

“The transition was smooth,” Pierce said. “With Whitman, we’re trying to play fast and up-tempo, and all the guys were nice, so it was an easy transition.”

Lewis and Pierce will help the Vikes in a competitive 4A South division against tough competitors like Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Winston Churchill. Churchill is off to a flying start with wins over B-CC and Watkins Mill, while B-CC returns nationally ranked guard Elijah Wood. Lewis’ height and elite outside shooting will give Whitman an advantage against zone teams, while Pierce’s ball handling will be vital against full-court press teams, Lun said.

“Jason and Jaden bring new fresh faces and excitement to our program as people will be looking forward to seeing who these kids are and their skills,” guard Josh Weinberg said.

Although the team has a number of returning players, including Weinberg and forwards Michael Bass and Rodrigo Ruiz, Lewis and Pierce will provide the team with additional scorers.

“We felt good with what we had, but we always get excited to see a couple new pieces,” Lun said. “Our team’s going to give us a chance each night, and that’s all we ask for.”

Lewis and Pierce trained with the team over the summer and during the fall league, so by the start of the winter season, the team already had solid chemistry, both players said. Leadership from other players like Weinberg has made the team especially cohesive, Lewis said.

“Josh’s energy and leadership got to me,” Lewis said. “He’s always talking on the court and trying to get other people involved.”

As one of only six seniors, Lewis hopes to become a leader on the team, he said.

“We don’t have too many loud voices, so I think someone needs to step up,” he said. “I think I’m capable of doing that.”

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