While the Harlem Globetrotters have millions of fans around the world who love their brand of basketball, highflying Marcus Lewis, a Streamwood High School grad, knows how to get the attention of hoops fans as well.
YouTube videos of Lewis, the 2014 College Slam Dunk Championship winner from Eastern Kentucky University, have attracted more than 1 million viewers during the last two years, and his dunking exploits are featured in another mixtape that has topped 2.1 million views.
It's no wonder then that the Harlem Globetrotters made Lewis the first selection in their 2014 draft class.
"I was honored because only a few people in the world can say they've been drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters." Lewis told the Daily Herald.
The Globetrotters, who like to have as much fun with their entertaining draft selections as they do on the court, chose Lewis along with some familiar names such as quarterback Johnny Manziel and soccer star Landon Donovan. The Globetrotters also selected 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar of New Mexico State among the eight selections they announced on Tuesday.
Lewis, who averaged nearly 10 points a game as a college senior, began getting his name out there after throwing down monstrous dunks at Eastern Kentucky, which nearly upset No. 2 Kansas in the NCAA Tournament last spring. In April, Lewis went on to win the College Slam Dunk contest. He even made it to ESPN's Top 10 Plays, and had his dunk chosen over one by Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.
Now Lewis, who earned a degree in general studies/health sciences in May, has a decision to make on his future. Although he has not decided yet whether to attend the Globetrotters' training camp in late September or pursue other options, he said the offer is tempting.
"I'd love to go and meet the guys and see if that's what I really want to do," Lewis said.
His other options include playing in the NBA's D League, signing with a pro team overseas, or joining a traveling street ball team such as Ball Up.
Whatever road Marcus "Lights-out" Lewis chooses to take, he insists he will be ready.
"I'm just training and lifting as much as I can so whatever I do with basketball I can be ready to make an instant impact," Lewis said.