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RASHARD LEWIS TO GO PRO;
Announcement Due Today--(April 16,1998)

The Washington Post today, citing a story in the Houston Chronicle (talk about hearsay) is reporting that Rashard Lewis (6'-10" Sr. C/F) from Elsik High in Alief, Texas, is going to announce today that he will join Korleone Young of Wichita, Kan., as the latest prep star to go pro.

Lewis said he is not concerned about those who say he should go to college for a few years first. "I'm sure people told Kobe that and people told Garnett that, so it doesn't bother me,'' Lewis said. "If the whole world says that about me, then I'll shock the world.''

Lewis is reportedly going to announce his decision today, according to a published report in the Houston Chronicle.

Although Lewis played center for Elsik High School, his 212-pound frame won't be able to handle that position in the NBA, and he knows that. He projects himself as a small forward or power forward.

"This is a great opportunity for me to play against the top level of competition and to live a dream early in life,'' Lewis told the Chronicle. "You never know what's going to happen in the future if I didn't go to the NBA. I could get injured or not improve as much as I have lately, and my status would drop. This is the right time.''

Lewis averaged 28.2 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and 4.3 steals per game this past season, leading Elsik to its first regional final.

"I have nothing but positive things to say about him,'' Elsik coach Jerrel Hartfiel said. "As great a basketball player as he is, he is just as great a person. In my 26 years of coaching, I have never seen a kid that is as talented, fundamentally sound, yet unselfish as he is. He's the best I have seen at the high school level. He's more advanced at this point than any of the guys who have gone directly from high school to the pros,'' he said. "He has a very quick first step, so he'll be able to slash past players and score. There will be an adjustment for sure, but I think he will be an impact player and he will be one soon.''

"I didn't decide to do this for the money,'' Lewis said. "We're not hurting for money. It's just the best decision for me. I'll get to do what I love, and do it against the best. That's what I'm looking forward to.''

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