We have reached the part of the college basketball season where teams are winding up conference play and gearing up for the post season tournaments. Years of hard work hang in the balance as seniors across the country near the end of their college basketball careers, and programs across the country are having their Senior Night/Day ceremonies.
Things are going to be a little different for the two Louisville players who will soon be playing their last college basketball game in front of the home crowd. On Tuesday night the University of Louisville will honor Damion Lee and Trey Lewis. Two graduate transfers who chose to forgo the traditional route and finish their careers in Louisville. These guys will lace em up in that locker room for the last time, will come charging out of that tunnel to the Alma mater for the last time, and will get the love and admiration from the Yum Center crowd for the last time.
These guys made me eat my words. I have been very vocal about the one and done players. I have always said that I didn’t see how fans of a school could have so much admiration for a player that was only involved in their program for one year. Now granted Damion and Trey aren’t typical one and done players but they like those players were only in our program for one year. Boy was I wrong… Not only have these guys captured the love and admiration from Louisville fans during their one year, but they have also left such an impression that they won’t likely ever be forgotten.
For a lot of seniors around the country who are playing for major programs the end of the regular season means March Madness and a chance at getting their one shining moment. But Damion and Trey have had many moments this season where they have shined. These guys won’t get a post season due to the self-imposed ban but the way they have handled themselves in the face of this adversity will be something that is never forgotten. These guys have shown so much maturity, humility, loyalty, perseverance and dedication that they will leave a legacy at Louisville that is felt for years to come.
In successful programs like the University Louisville the players leave but the tradition never graduates. This program is rich and vibrant because many guys like Damion and Trey have cared enough to give their very best. There are still many chapters that have yet to be written, but these guys have added to the outstanding tradition of Cardinal Basketball.
Damion Lee said that the best basketball advice given to him was to “Stay humble. As quick as you rise is as quick as you can fall.” He has had to lean on those words this season. Along with his leadership and his offense this looked like a Louisville team that could not only compete for a championship but also had a legitimate shot at winning one. And right as things were looking so promising the news came that took all of that away for him. But Damion stayed humble and continued to give it his all every time he took the court. He never uttered a negative word and has remained positive throughout. This guy is a class act and I really admire and appreciate his example. Damion said at the beginning of the season that his personal goal was to “win a national championship and become part of a family.” He won’t get that championship but he will be a part of the Louisville family for the rest of his life. Thank you Damion!
Trey Lewis said that the best basketball advice given to him was “great players make everyone around them better.” Trey Lewis took that advice to heart and he has made every player on the Louisville basketball team better. Not only better competitors but also better people. Trey is a God fearing young man and he will quickly tell you that he finds his strength in the almighty. He has used his platform to not talk or brag about himself but to give glory to his beliefs. To have that kind of faith at his age is remarkable and he has been an example to everyone around him. At the beginning of the season Trey said that his personal goal at Louisville was to “earn my master’s degree, become the best point guard in the ACC and lead the Cards to a national title.” He won’t be able to reach that last goal but two out of three isn’t bad. And sure there may be a better point guard in the ACC but there isn’t a better person playing point guard in the ACC. Thank you Trey!
We will honor Damion and Trey on Tuesday night in the final home game of their careers, but the program will continue to count on their leadership. We’ll surely miss these guys but will never forget them. In a season full of chaos and turmoil surrounding the program their example shined so bright that even the darkness of all of that couldn’t get us down. Damion Lee and Trey Lewis Louisville First Cardinals Forever…