One in a series of articles on Central Penn basketball players this season.
Get to know the person behind the player
By Gabryelle Breski
Knightly News Reporter
Zaheim Lewis is a sophomore majoring in computer information systems at Central Penn who plays for the men’s basketball team.
Lewis comes to Central Penn from Steelton-Highspire High School, where he played three sports – football, basketball and baseball. Even though he played all three, he said baseball was his first choice, and he was team captain his senior year.
Each athlete comes with a story of how they got to where they are. For Lewis, basketball wasn’t his first choice when choosing Central Penn.
Lewis stated how head Knights baseball coach Robert Stern found him first. Coach Stern wanted Lewis to play for his team, but Lewis quickly fell in love with another one of the sports he played in high school, basketball. The sophomore said he saw the basketball team on campus and that the players had a bond he wanted to be part of.
Lewis spoke highly of one of his senior mentors during his first year, last season, Nate Jean-Philippe, who gave him the confidence he needed to start at a higher level.
Jean-Philippe told Lewis at one game that “it was my time to shine.” Lewis got passed the ball that game and made a 3-point shot and a few others, giving the head coach a look at a different player who showed what he was capable of. During the last season, the team was short on players, so the first-year team members had to step into a larger role almost immediately.
As a sophomore, Lewis looks to the season, playing with his best friend, Khalil Dukes, and wants to be the role model for the class coming in.
Lewis talked about wanting to be like Jean-Philippe was for him. He spoke about the basketball team being a family and about how it is a concept you must “buy into.” With team sports, one athlete can affect a team, so Lewis looks forward to being the positive and welcoming energy for new students.
As he spoke about his role on the team, he mentioned how the head coach expects “nothing less than perfection.” He used an example of running a play for 15 minutes until the team was able to get it right. While some may see this as something strenuous, Lewis saw it as a time when the team was able to come together and battle out of the rough few minutes they were having. The team seems to be gelling well: Lewis said the players went down to the Knights Keep campus store and bought the same shorts to wear as practice uniforms.
The team will be playing at East Pennsboro Area High School, which is also not a first for Lewis. He remembers playing there in high school and feeling the energy in the gym that had an impact on the game. When two teams are able to play on a court that is surrounded by fans, Lewis said, it is a great feeling to see his fellow classmates cheering on his team for every shot or play they make.
Lewis’ goals include having three steals a game and helping the team in any way he can, physically and academically.
As an athlete, Lewis has many goals, but he credits his father for inspiring him. He stated how his father always said what he meant, and his father always tried to lead by example.
One of Lewis’ key pieces of advice for future students is not to take a term off and start during the first term to “get into the books.”
For more about Lewis, check out www.centralpennknights.com. Home games are available on The Knightly News YouTube channel.
Breski is president of The Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College.
Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.
Edited by media-club co-adviser and blog editor Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi.