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January 8, 2010

Witcher excited about the rest of the season and his future

By: Jimmy Robertson

Lewis Witcher

After a stellar high school career at nearby Franklin County High, Tech men’s basketball player Lewis Witcher is wrapping up his career with the Hokies. Witcher is the lone scholarship senior on the team and the only player left off of Tech’s 2007 NCAA Tournament team. Witcher sat down and answered several questions about his career and his future once he graduates in the spring.

Q: Coming out of Franklin County [Va.] High School, what led you to commit to Virginia Tech over Wake Forest and Maryland?

LW: “Virginia Tech and Wake Forest were my two big ones because I really wanted to be close to home. That was the biggest thing. I wanted to be close to home so that my family could come and see me play and so that I could go home and see them.

“I also enjoyed how the coaches were. They seemed like a family. They seemed concerned about the players. I really enjoyed that and wanted to be a part of it.”

Q: Has your family been able to see you play a lot?

LW: “Yeah, my parents come to every home game and they go to a lot of the away games, too. I really enjoy my family and the way they support me by coming to a lot of games.”

Q: Being a local player – Franklin County is only a little over an hour from Blacksburg – has there been more pressure on you to be successful since you’re playing in front of so many people who knew you or knew of you when you were in high school?

LW: “In some ways, maybe. Being a local player, even if things aren’t going well, I feel like I have the support of the fans who want to see me do well. And when I do well, you can really tell how much support they’ll give to someone who is local.”

Q: Do you try harder to be successful because you’re from this area and playing in front of all your fans and family?

LW: “I don’t feel as though I’m doing things to impress the people around me. I mean, I want to impress them, but that’s not my goal. I’m trying hard for myself. I’m trying to play up to my capabilities and to meet my own expectations.”

Q: How odd is it to be the lone scholarship senior on this team?

LW: “It’s kind of weird sometimes being the lone guy. I knew coming in that it was me and Nigel [Munson] and then he left and that put me in a class by myself. It’s going well, but it does feel a little odd.”

[Editor’s note: Jeff Allen was also part of this recruiting class but went to Hargrave for a postgraduate year. And Paul Debnam is a senior, but not on scholarship.]

Lewis Witcher has been a solid contributor and leader for the Hokies, and he will graduate in the spring with a degree in finance.

Q: Do you look at yourself as a leader because you’re the lone scholarship senior?

LW: “I feel I have to be somewhat of a leader because I’ve been here the longest and I have the most experience. I feel like I have to be a leader to the younger guys, especially to the freshmen coming in who have had some frustrating times trying to figure out how to play at this level. I’m trying to take them under my wing and help them feel better about themselves. I’m trying to help them get better. I’m trying to give them good advice to help them get through the rough times.”

Q: How much did you help Victor Davila last year?

LW: “I would talk to him and let him know things. He had some ups and downs and I’d give him advice on how to deal with that. I tried to help him a lot and I think we can discuss things better now. We can talk to each other and we relate to each other.”

Q: Now, Victor is starting and playing extensively and playing well. Just joking, of course, but maybe you helped him too much.

LW: “Nah, there’s no bitterness at all. He’s been playing well and I congratulate him for doing that.”

Q: Looking back on your career, how would you describe it? Has it been what you wanted it to be?

LW: “Coming in, I probably expected more. But now that I’m older, even though I feel it wasn’t totally up to my expectations, I feel like I’ve had a good experience and a good career here at Virginia Tech, just with all the memories and experiences. My freshman year, I played a lot and we were able to beat Duke and UNC and go to the NCAA Tournament. Even these last couple of years, I’ve had some good experiences and we’ve won a lot of games and went to the NIT. Overall, I’ve had a great experience and it’s been very fulfilling.”

Q: If you had to pick your most memorable moment here, what would it be and why?

LW: “Probably the UNC game my freshman year here. That was one of the most memorable moments I’ve had here. Just the atmosphere of the game, it was an amazing thing to happen. The team no one expected us to beat and they were the No. 1 team in the country at the time, and to be able to play up to them and beat them … that was an amazing thing. Then the fans rushed the court after the game. That was so much fun to experience.”

Q: What are your hopes and goals for the rest of this season?

LW: “The biggest thing is wanting to end my career on a positive note. Just end it with a bang. I want to have a good season and want our team to do well and go as far as we can. The NCAA Tournament would be a wonderful way for me to end my career here.”

Q: You’ll be graduating in the spring with a degree in finance. What led you to major in finance?

LW: “I’ve always wanted to get into business and have enjoyed that. I like math and I was good with numbers. When I first got here, I was an accounting major and I thought I wanted to get into that, but I found out that it wasn’t suited to me, so I changed to finance and I really am glad I did that. I’m enjoying it, and hopefully I can do something with it when I leave here and get out into the real world.”

Q: Do you have any future plans?

LW: “I have all kinds of different options. I’m thinking about going overseas and trying to play ball over there for a while. Or I can try to find a job in my major. I haven’t done an internship, but I have some friends who work for a bank and I’ve shadowed them to see what a day is like in their jobs. Or maybe I could go to grad school. There are plenty of options for me, but I don’t have one clear-cut option. The thing I’d really like to do, though, is play overseas.”

Q: What has been your toughest class here at Tech?

LW: “It’s probably a tie between Finance Concepts and Skills and Intermediate Accounting. Those were the two toughest. I struggled in those two. I’m kind of glad I made it through because they prepared you for the next level of classes and for the things you’ll have to do once you get out of school and into the real world.”

Q: You mention playing overseas or getting a job somewhere. Will it be tough for you to leave southwest Virginia?

LW: “I guess so because I’ve lived here all my life. It’ll be a huge adjustment being somewhere outside of southwest Virginia, but I feel like I’ll be okay with it. I feel like I’ve learned a lot here. I’ve enjoyed my time here, but I’ll be okay if I have to move far away or just outside of here.”

Q: Do you look forward to that day?

LW: “Yeah, I look forward to it. I guess it’ll be a happy time and a sad time. It’ll be sad because it’ll be the ending of being here. But it’ll be happy because I’ll be out on my own. It’ll be exciting figuring out what I’m going to do with my life. That’ll be a fun experience.”