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Tenacious work ethic pays off for Lewis in senior year at Ramapo

Senior Rob Lewis has enjoyed his best collegiate season as he looks back on his time with the Roadrunners.

Ramapo College Roadrunners senior forward Rob Lewis enjoyed his first two years at Bloomfield College. In his sophomore season the team won the CACC (Central Athletic Collegiate Conference) Championship, but due to a falling out with the head coach and loss of faith Lewis felt it was best to find a new home. That is where Ramapo College Head Coach McBreen entered the picture.

“I had to find a new home and Coach McBreen gave me a call. I came up for a visit and it seemed like the right fit for my father and me,” said Lewis. “Coach McBreen and the staff welcomed me with open arms and once I learned the system, it was the perfect fit for me.”

Last season Lewis came off the bench, proving to be a reliable player by seeing action in all 32 games while averaging 4.4 points per game and 3.3 rebounds.

“Last year I came off the bench playing behind Tommy Bonacum, an All-American who taught me a lot with how he approached the game on and off the court,” Lewis said. “I learned a lot when he left and knew it was my time and everything he taught me and to put the work in and keep the tradition going at Ramapo.”

“One of the main things from last season is Pat Peterson and I were coming off the bench. We had a lot of depth and 12 plays that could come in and be an instant factor. Sitting on the bench for the first few minutes and seeing what the starters were doing right and wrong. When we got our opportunities, we knew exactly what we had to do to keep the ball rolling and the team scoring.”

“The ride last season was amazing at Bloomfield College. We won, but it wasn’t like Ramapo with the tradition and how everyone is family from the players to the families to students and staff. A great experience in my first year, winning and buying in. We had a common goal to where we want to be. We were one game short from a national championship game so I can’t be mad looking back at and something I will never forget.”

With a senior starting five departing plus Pat Peterson not returning, the Roadrunners underwent a significant roster facelift during the 2018 off-season. Enter Kashaun Barnes transferring from Stockton and incoming freshman point guard Jason Battle from Roselle Catholic High School in Jersey City. Barnes has lived up to the billing leading the team in scoring with 19.5 points per game while Battle is averaging 6.9 points per game and leads the team with 70 assists.

“Kashaun has come in and helped us right away with scoring,” said Lewis. “He and I are seniors and on the same exact page. I love Jason Battle. It’s very rare coming from a freshman and straight from high school and be willing to do anything for the team. He fits in with the team, his toughness, way to facilitate, speed, IQ and wouldn’t trade him for any other point guard.”

“Everyone has the ability to come off the bench to come in and be an instant factor. It comes down to confidence and knowing their role and knowing what to do on the court to help the team and give our starting five a nice break.”

Currently, Ramapo sits at 16-7 and third place in the NJAC with a 10-6 record. Lewis has flourished this season registering 12 double-doubles. He scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 16 rebounds back on November 16th against Gordon College. Twice this season, Lewis has been named NJAC Player of the Week. Overall Lewis is averaging 15.2 points per game and 10.2 rebounds while shooting over 50 percent from the field.

“In practice guys pushing each other and going at me to keep me on my toes and competitive,” Lewis said. “When I’m in the gym working on something whether it’s 50 free throws, post moves or ball handling. Forty-five minutes to one hour each day so when I step on the court, I’m doing whatever the team needs me to do to get the win, score the ball, set good screens, dribbling or grabbing 15 rebounds. Honors from the NJAC mean I put a lot of hard work in over the years and to get that recognition in the last year.”

Lewis still pinpoints the work of Head Coach Chuck McBreen. “He is the best coach I ever had since I picked up the basketball. What I noticed from is him is he may yell but that’s the way he gets us going and listening to him you know exactly know what he is talking about. Some other coaches yell out of anger but you can learn a lot from him, and he has a burning passion to win. It rubs off on the team and is key for him being so successful and why I want to play hard for him. His knowledge of the game has rubbed off on me and helped me with my basketball related IQ.”

Senior night on February 13 is fast approaching and has crept into Lewis mind. He thinks about how much he enjoys playing at home. “One factor of the Bradley Center is how beautiful it is and everybody wants to come and play here even if you an away team. Students know each other and are tight. Everyone supports one another and there is a lot of respect and love with the staff.”

“My Dad comes up for home games and on the road, I have four or five people there to support and show love for me that keeps me motivated.” I’m definitely thinking about it a lot more lately and about my emotions being more happy than sad. This school has done so much for me and welcomed me with open arms and I showed the love right back. It’s going to be a great feeling and it has been a great ride.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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