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Lewis comes back to Maryland to rebuild a former power

In 1984, Derrick Lewis, a 6-foot-7 prep basketball star at Archbishop Carroll High School (Temple Hills, Md.), was selected a McDonald's All-American and first team D.C. Area All-Met.

Lewis has just been named as the new head basketball coach at Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.). Last season, Lewis was a first-year junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant coach at Archbishop Spalding.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to coach here. This is not something I'm taking for granted," Lewis told ESPNRISE.com. "I know that coaching in the Baltimore Catholic League is a coveted job. The administration came to me and really wanted me and I think they are going to support me and I know we are on the same page about the best way to run this program."

Spalding was a BCL and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference power in the late 1990s and early 2000s under head coach Tony Martin (now at John Carroll High School) and then under Mike Glick (now at Gwynn Park High School), but the program has endured two coaching changes and three mediocre seasons since Glick departed.

Lewis hopes to rebuild the Cavaliers into a top hoops program, but he knows it will take time.

"We want to do it the right way," Lewis said. "We are going to stress academics first because that is what is important and because that is the kind of school that Spalding is. We want to get the right kind of young people in here as student-athletes."

Spalding has produced a number of Division I basketball players in the past decade, most notably 6-foot-9 prep All-American Rudy Gay, who went on to star at UConn and the NBA. Former University of Maryland center Will Bowers also played at Spalding.

"Right after I got the head coaching job at Spalding in late April, Will Bowers contacted me about helping me out with the basketball here," Lewis said.

Lewis, of course, has other ties to the University of Maryland basketball program.

Lewis went on to star at Maryland for coaches Lefty Driesell and Bob Wade from 1984 to 1988. Lewis was a tremendous defensive force for the Terrapins, becoming the school's all-time leading shot-blocker and the third-leading rebounder in school history.

"A lot of great players have come and gone from Maryland since I graduated and I guess eventually I'll get knocked out of the Maryland record book," Lewis said with a laugh, "but for now I'm still up there in shot-blocking and rebounding."

After leaving Maryland, Lewis went on to play professionally in France for 16 years.

"It was a great experience. I had my wife with me; my children were born there. My son went to school in France for six years. It was a great experience and opportunity which I really enjoyed."

Lewis and his family now reside in Windsor Mill, Md., in Howard County. He's working on putting together a coaching staff at Spalding.

"Since I got the position as head coach, I've already had over 70 people call me, e-mail or text me about getting on the staff. There is a lot of interest from some good, experienced coaches in being on the staff here," Lewis said. "I think that Spalding has everything you need to be a very good high school [basketball] program. We have a great location, nice facilities with a really nice new gym, excellent academics; and we are in a great league. A lot of kids are going to want to come here. I've had some nice players approach me already, but they have to be a good fit for the school academically, too."

James Quinn covers high school basketball for MDVarsity.com.