by J.D. Crabtree
Once in a few decades, a lucky college basketball program lands a player with a gift that is coveted at all levels of the game. This gift has the ability to swing momentum instantly and strike fear in defenders as soon as the player steps on the court. This gift is an extremely accurate three-point shot from anywhere they please. The Sewanee Men’s Basketball team currently has its own long-range assassin in captain Lewis Affronti (C’13). Since his freshman year on the domain, the 6’4 forward from Virginia Beach has been lighting up opposing defenses with his arsenal of three-point shots. His smooth flawless shot has kept student sections rambunctious for entire games but at the same time has been able to bring a warm peace into the hearts of the children and elderly. A perfect display of his talents was put on against conference rival Rhodes College on Jan. 25. In front of an electric Sewanee crowd, “Sweet Lew” went a perfect 5-5 from his three-point homeland to lead the Sewanee Tigers to a 59-56 win. Affronti had this to say about the game:
“The atmosphere was great, one of, if not the, greatest atmospheres I’ve played in front of at Sewanee since I’ve been here. Not only did the crowd give us the extra boost we needed from the tip, but our intense focus as a team before the game in locker room and during warm-ups really put our minds in the right place. We knew going into the game that we were going to have to be our best because Rhodes can take advantage of any mistake their opponents make. I think with our entire team on the same page in terms of what we needed to do to win, plus the intense, emotional atmosphere that we found ourselves in, really helped give us such a fast start.
“Getting that win was huge for us. We had just come off two tough losses at home, which kind of deflated us as a team. And, with learning that Rhodes was 6-0 in the conference, we knew that we were going to have to bring our best effort if we wanted to beat them and get back on track. I think most importantly that win gave us the confidence to know that we can beat any team we face if WE set the tone of game early and we play the basketball we know we are capable of.”
Anyone that spends time with Affronti knows that he has solid fundamentals off the court as well. His respect among his peers and trustworthy personality are definite arguments for his captaincy. With great pride, Affronti expressed his thoughts on his critical role on the team:
“I think my role as the captain is to get the team ready for any opponent we face and to lead by example in that preparation. With a team like ours this year, that job has been relatively easy due to the talent and willingness to be great that all our young new players posses. When we have 18 guys willing to lock in and focus on what we need to accomplish as a team, rather than worrying about individual play, we become the most dangerous team in the league. I welcome this responsibility as captain because it keeps me focused on what I have to do everyday to set the right example. I want to show these guys what needs to be done in order to play our best basketball because I know if they continue working hard we can’t be stopped in years to come.”
Affronti describes Sewanee as his “perfect fit.” It is safe to say that he is correct when one looks at his impact on the Sewanee community and the basketball team’s success, with one of the best four year stretches in team history.