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Don't take Marist's Lewis for granted CST February 2, 2015It's not that the first year Marist College men's basketball coach isn't interested in talking about a specific play here, or a specific shot there. But Maker has often seemed more interested in reminding us all of the bigger picture when it comes to his star senior. "Chavaughn is a special player," Maker said, following his 35 point outburst at Canisius Sunday. "I hope everybody in Poughkeepsie is going to give him his just due." Maker hasn't been in Poughkeepsie long, but it clearly wasn't difficult for him to catch up with the storyline. Lewis may be the most underrated player in Marist's program history. As he approaches the school's all time scoring record, the opinions I've heard from fans have ranged from apathy to resentment that Lewis could accomplish such a feat against the backdrop of Marist's seven consecutive losing seasons. Make no mistake: As long as the injury bug stops biting the Red Foxes, Lewis will surpass Steve Smith's record of 2,077 points. He's on pace to do so during the team's regular season finale at Rider, and could end up the sixth best scorer in MAAC history, especially if Marist can extend its season beyond the tournament's opening round. I'll admit it. Entering this season, I, too reflected on what it would mean to have a scoring champion whose team never reached the .500 mark at any point in his four seasons. It was ridiculous to think those losses should detract from the swingman's accomplishments. If that wasn't obvious before, Lewis is making it hard to ignore now. The MAAC recognized it on Monday by making him its Player of the Week. But even without those two historic wins at Niagara and Canisius this weekend, including a 14 for 16 shooting day in Buffalo, the evidence of Lewis' evolution has been there to discover. Curry and Lewis himself, this season has been among the most trying seasons in the team's very trying recent history. If he was simply the volume scorer some believe him to be, Lewis could have charged toward his individual career goal with blinders on. Instead, he's been a leader, and has facilitated for teammates as much as at any time in his career. He's been one of the league's top defenders, pacing the MAAC with 2.1 steals per game. He's adapted his own game to the various needs of the team. It just so happens that the team's most frequent need is for him to squeeze every point out of his 6 foot 5 frame. Maker credits Lewis for setting the right tone from the coach's first few days on campus. "I really appreciate how he, in particular, has bought in to a different direction," Maker. "When you have your best player buy in, everyone else follows." That attitude is nothing new, even if Marist's success over the last week is. Since he stepped on campus, Lewis' favorite topic of conversation has been building Marist into a winning program. It was one of the reasons why he wanted to come to Poughkeepsie in the first place. As a freshman he spoke about it with confidence. As a sophomore he spoke with determination. Not that long ago, it seemed he was speaking with little more than hope. But even with his time running out, Lewis' talking points haven't shifted to personal goals. And now that Hart and Curry are beginning to round into their pre injury forms, Lewis is looking forward to his final month as a Red Fox. "I'm enjoying every bit of it," he said Sunday. "There's a lot of weight off my shoulders. We have their experience back. We have our guards back . It opens up the game. It makes the game a lot easier for me." I don't know if the Red Foxes have truly turned the corner with their inaugural Western New York sweep. There have been several similar hopeful moments in the past four years that proved false. What I do know is, it's time to give Lewis his due, no matter where his career winning percentage falls. He's not Rik Smits. He didn't win a regular season title like Sean Kennedy or Jared Jordan. But there's no faking 2,000 points. Lewis has five games left in McCann Arena, giving the Red Fox faithful five more chances to watch perhaps the greatest swingman in the program's history in his natural habitat.