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How Jenica Lewis' parents raised a basketball prodigy

Yasmine Leung March 18, 2022
screenshot, YouTube - Courtside Films

Basketball prodigy Jenica Lewis featured on the last episode of the Today Show along with her parents, so here’s what we know about them.

14-year-old basketball talent Jenica Lewis made an appearance on the Today show on Friday morning (18 March). Why is she making headlines? It’s because the 5ft 9in teen is only in eighth grade, but she’s already got 18 scholarship offers under her belt for college, despite never even playing a single minute of high school basketball.

She may be honing her skills on the court, but she has family to thank for her raw talent and dedication.

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The 18 colleges that are desperate for Lewis

Iowa State was the first institution to approach her in April of her seventh-grade year, followed by Iowa two months later.

Here’s the list of other colleges prepared to welcome the 14-year-old:

  • Minnesota
  • Michigan State
  • Michigan
  • Louisville
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio State
  • Marquette
  • Ole Miss
  • Kansas
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Penn State
  • Florida
  • Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma
  • Miami

Lewis regularly plays with older opponents since it was clear she excelled against her peers, but that hasn’t stopped her from training:

“I realised I can’t really stop working or they’re going to catch up to me,” she admitted.

Jenica Lewis got her athleticism from her parents

The young athlete was born to her father, LC Lewis Jr , and mother, Shannon Ryan.

It seems that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree since both parents were basketball players in their youth. In fact, they met at the now-closed Marycrest International University, where they both participated in the sport – LC graduated in 2002 with a degree in mathematics.

The proud father recalled: “We are a complete basketball family. Our neighbours probably think we are nuts because everything we do is basketball. It’s in our blood lines. My wife, Shannon (Ryan) Lewis, graduated in 1996 from Southeast Polk. We both played at Marycrest College and that’s where we met.”

He went on to work for Wells Fargo Financial, which he continues to do today as a credit portfolio consultant in Dallas County, Iowa.

Although he’s no longer on the court, his passion has continued: since 2013, he’s been a coach at 360 Select Basketball, a non-profit organisation providing opportunities for young people to learn fundamental life and sports skills.

Shannon and LC reportedly married around 2003 and welcomed their first child, Trey, in 2004. At the time, the couple resided in Des Moines, Iowa, where Shannon worked at Fort Des Moines Dental as an assistant office manager.

Keep updated via their Twitter.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.