RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Monday began a very busy week for former VCU guard JeQuan Lewis. The recent VCU grad was one of six NBA Draft prospects to work out for the Denver Nuggets Monday.
The Nuggets hold the 13th pick in the first round and the 49th and 51st picks in the second round of the NBA Draft, which will take place Thursday, June 22nd at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
“It’s humbling. It’s a blessing just to see all your hard work finally paying off,” Lewis said on the phone from the Denver airport Monday afternoon.
Lewis was joined by Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), John Collins (Wake Forest), Hassan Martin (Rhode Island), Landen Lucas (Kansas), and T.J. Williams (Northeastern) at the Nuggets’ practice facility.
The Nuggets put Lewis and the other prospects through a battery of combine-style tests before hitting the court. Lewis said the tests included a weight, body fat, and wingspan measurements as well as a vertical jump and running jump test. The Nuggets then had Lewis play full court one-on-one and finished with three on three.
Lewis thought his VCU “Havoc”-style conditioning would prepare him for anything, but he said after the workout that the thin air of the Mile High City had challenged him considerably.
“The altitude here is unbelievable. I feel like I’m in tip-top shape, but it got to me. It started taking over my whole body.” – JeQuan Lewis
“The altitude here is unbelievable. I feel like I’m in tip-top shape, but it got to me. It started taking over my whole body.”
The Nuggets play all of their home games at altitude, but Lewis said that would not be a concern if he were to make the team.
Monday in Denver was the first of three workouts this week for the 21-year old Lewis, a six-foot-one-inch 180-pound guard from Dickson, Tenn. From Denver, Lewis had planned to fly to Los Angeles to work out for the Clippers Tuesday morning. He then will fly cross-country to Brooklyn to work out for the Nets on Thursday morning. Lewis said he would be back in Richmond by Thursday night.
The goal of the whirlwind tour, of course, is to impress NBA teams enough to prove that he is worthy of a draft pick or at least a spot on an NBA Summer League roster.
“I know I’m going to have a few workouts next week,” Lewis said. “My agent just hasn’t scheduled them yet.”
Asked if he expected to be drafted, to make a summer league roster, or to potentially play in Europe or some other foreign country, Lewis said he was focused on the draft.
“It’s still up in the air. You never know.” Lewis said. “My works outs — I’ve done really well so far. I just have to continue doing what I’m doing and try to do things better, obviously.”
Lewis said the pressure of working out for an NBA team versus taking the floor in an NCAA Tournament game is different because of the long term implications of impressing an NBA team.
“You’re so anxious and excited and nervous at the same time, because like you said you’re out here trying to get a job, and it’s not just you, it’s 100 other college basketball players out there trying to get jobs, trying to find a job in the NBA or overseas, and it’s not an easy process,” Lewis said.
“It can be very frustrating. It can be very hard. It can be very emotional. It’s physically taxing on your body because you’re working out so much.”