Corky Branigan, KSPK,Radio Commentator:
CB: Hey sportsfans, it’s the Corkster here. And tonight, I have not only one, but two, guests from the Eastern Washington State Eagles basketball program. After your Corkster called EWU about comments on the Bayou La Batre Evening News and on the SportsShadow.com blog, the college sent over for your listening pleasure, 1st Assistant Coach Jamal Smith and 3rd Assistant Coach, Kevin “Goober” Gebbers.
So, let’s get right to it. Tell me guys, what’s the skinny on your recruiting the Maryland high school phenom, Chris Lewis?
JS: We’ve been very open about goin’ out tah meet with high school players an’ high school coaches this year. As everyone knows, we don’t have any scholarships tah offer, but since Coach Vandergard an’ all of us assistants are new at EWU, Coach V has wanted us tah get tah know recruitin’ areas an’ high school coaches. We’ve therefore used some of our recruitin’ budget tah get out inta the field, get experience talkin’ with high school seniors, an’ meet an’ get tah know high school coaches. We’ve always been very upfront tah all of them that we will NOT be offerin’ any scholarships this year.
CB: OK, but how does this all relate to Chris Lewis in Maryland?
JS: From my previous basketball experience, I got tah know a great high school coach in Maryland. His name is Gonye East. He has some excellent contacts with coaches in an’ near Maryland, so Coach V agreed that I should go out tah Maryland an’ make contact him in because he may give us an entree intah east coast basketball. When I was there I met his star player, Chris Lewis. Chris is goin’ tah be a big star in collegiate ball, but not at EWU. Obviously we couldn’t recruit him this year an’ even if we could of, it’s unlikely he woulda given us much consideration since he’s had all the big-name programs beatin’ each other up to sign him.
CB: Yes, but that doesn’t explain how his father says he was offered a bribe, a Cadillac to be exact, to have Chris sign with EWU. What’s up with that?
KG: I guess that’s where I come in, Corky. I was in the office one day when a call came in. The guy said his name was Ja’Rome Lewis and he was the father of Chris Lewis. He said he wanted to talk with Coach V or our recruiting assistant. I told him neither was in and he started rambling. To be honest, I’m not Creole or Cajun, and I really couldn’t understand much of what he said. Maybe if Coach Smith, here, and his sweet southern accent had been there he could have understood him. But, anyway, I do recall Mr. Lewis saying that he lived down south and his ex-wife and Chris were living up in Maryland. Mr. Lewis also went on and on about having had a cattle ranch in the past but that it was all taken away from him by the government or something. It all was pretty confusing, but he said he was hoping to get back into ranching. Well, the more he talked the more confused I got, and finally I just decided to end the call and said, “Well, Mr. Lewis, I hope you get your cattle back.” I then said good bye. There was never any mention of a “Cadillac”, just my wish that he was able to get back into ranching and get his “cattle back.”
CB: So, the two of you are saying you never offered either Chris Lewis or his father, Ja’Rome Lewis, any type of consideration whatsoever.
JS and KG (in unison): Absolutely not.
CB: OK, sportsfans, there you have it. Direct from the horse’s mouths. There was never any enticement (also sometimes known as bribes) to Chris Lewis or his family by Eastern Washington coaches to try to get him to come to play basketball for the Eagles.