CONYERS - Heritage standout Neicey Lewis is taking her game to the next level.
Lewis was an explosive and dynamic point guard for the Lady Patriots and helped lead them to a state playoff appearance this year.
In her two years at Heritage, she averaged 14 points per game as well as nearly five steals and five rebounds a game.
Now with graduation behind her, Lewis is taking her game to Mercer University.
Lewis said it's always been her dream to play at the Division I level.
"I'm really excited. Coming off this season, I really thought I wouldn't get a DI scholarship," she said. "What happened was the Mercer coach (Janell Jones) came up to a game to see somebody else play and she liked me, so she invited me down for a visit. I went and played with the girls and they really liked me. From then on it was all butter."
And although Lewis was being pursued by other schools, she said Mercer was the right fit for her.
"I was also looking at Shelton State (Alabama) and North Georgia - those were the main two I was thinking about going to. Georgia Perimeter also offered me a scholarship," she said. "I had a couple of offers, but when Mercer came on the scene, they went to the top of the list. They have very high academics, it's a real good school and it's kind of close to home. I just made the decision off that, plus it's a DI school and I've always wanted to play at a DI school.
"I always think I can make a team better. When I was younger, I really expected to be at one of those top DI schools, but as I grew older, I kind of knew that my size wasn't going to let me get to one of those big DI schools. From there I just concentrated on getting to a nice DI school that was competitive, because I am a competitive player. I'm pretty satisfied."
Lewis said coach Jones was interested in her because of scoring abilities and speed.
"The coach told me that she likes to run and get the ball out to the point guards and not slow the game down. She wants a scoring point guard, which is kind of what I am," she said. "I can score, but I can also handle the ball and dish it out to other players."
Lewis said there were many things that attracted her
"It was both the coaching and the campus. I did some research on Mercer and I found that they are one of the top caliber colleges in Georgia," she said. "As far as basketball goes, I'm a student first, so I always look at the academics. They have a good record of graduating their student-athletes and having them get good jobs after graduation."
Lewis said hard work, dedication and the support from her friends and family have been the secret to her success.
"You've got to have support. I've had support from everywhere," she said. "All my friends supported me by going to the games and cheering for me. Teachers have helped me by giving me that extra encouragement to keep on going. You've got to have coaching and you've got to have your family."
Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@ rockdalecitizen.com.