Faithful Fan | For Chaminade grad, no good deed goes unpunished

Recently, there's been a fuss about Chaminade graduate Mike Lewis II, a sophomore guard on the Duquesne University basketball team.

No, he isn't another college player who got in trouble with the law or violated school or team rules.

He gave a pizza and chicken wings to a woman living in her car near his apartment and talked with her, a gesture that was recorded and placed on social media with an uplifting message: "Noticed a lady living in her car the past week and did what I could, don't just walk past people if you can help do so #GodsPlan."

The first comment on his post came from someone who shamed Lewis for boasting. Others criticized the homeless woman, pointing out that she asked Lewis if he had a cigarette (he didn't) and mistakenly referring to her vehicle as a luxury car, showing an appalling lack of compassion.

But the vast majority of comments praised Lewis, pointing out how the world and particularly the basketball community needs to be inspired by a player's good deeds. On Twitter, one person said Lewis is doing God's work and has a heart of gold and called the negative comments despicable. It was clear by Lewis' words encouraging people to help that he never meant to boast. He was countering the negativity so prevalent in society today and reflected in social media. He's also doing his part to show there's another side to the widely reported misdeeds of a few athletes.

Pittsburgh Sports Now reporter Alan Saunders set the record straight, noting that Lewis tries to go out of his way to help someone once a week and that a teammate filmed the act of kindness. Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot praised Lewis' character when told of the posting.

In a chat with reporters, Lewis said that he was brought up to do good things, that he wants to see more positive things on social media and that he was influenced by the service hours he did at his high school. From the many postings on his social media sites about Chaminade's sports teams, it's obvious he still cares for his former school.

Marianist Father Ralph A. Siefert, president of Chaminade, said the Chaminade family is extremely proud of Lewis, a 2016 alumnus. "His gracious act of caring for someone less fortunate than himself is inspirational and is a perfect illustration of the remarkable man that Mikey is," Father Siefert stated. "May his action motivate others to pay it forward similarly."

Lewis averaged 14.1 points his freshman year, leading Duquesne in free-throw percentage at 83.2 percent as well as 3-pointers and minutes per game. He scored in double digits a team-high 24 times. This season, he has similar stats, averaging 14.4 points.

That's even better than at Chaminade, where he focused on being a catalyst for his teammates, many of whom play or played Division 1 basketball in college. He averaged 9.9 points on a state championship team that included three other Division 1 basketball players: Jayson Tatum (Duke), Tyler Cook (Iowa) and Will Gladson (Princeton). Tatum was the third pick, by the Boston Celtics, in the 2017 NBA Draft. In the state title game, with Chaminade leading 58-56 in the fourth quarter, Lewis hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help give the Red Devils a lift in a 72-59 win over Kickapoo.

It's good to see players such as Lewis follow through on what they practiced at Catholic high schools on and off the court. Many more good deeds never come to light, and that's fine. But it's helpful when someone such as Lewis serves as an example for all of us.

Kenny is a staff writer for the Review and a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Oakville. 

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