NBA draft prospect Malique Lewis joins NBL's Phoenix

NBA draft prospect Malique Lewis has joined South East Melbourne for the upcoming NBL season as he seeks to boost his stock for next year.

Lewis, who withdrew from the 2024 NBA draft, has signed with the Phoenix as part of the increasingly successful Next Stars program.

The 19-year-old forward from Trinidad and Tobago spent last season with the Mexico City Capitanes in the NBA G League, and the two years prior to that with Fuenlabrada in Spain's Liga ACB.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to join the South East Melbourne Phoenix and the NBL," Lewis said.

"I can't wait to get started with the team and be part of the Next Star program.

"I'm incredibly grateful to SEM for this amazing opportunity.

"I'm eager to get out there, help the team win games, and make our fans proud."

Lewis, who is listed at 203cm and has a 216cm wingspan, is the fifth confirmed Next Star for the 2024-25 season.

He joins Rocco Zikarsky (Brisbane Bullets), Alex Toohey (Sydney Kings), Roman Siulepa (Tasmania JackJumpers) and Izan Almansa (Perth Wildcats) on NBL rosters.

"Malique is a really unique prospect and his potential is incredibly exciting," Phoenix basketball operations boss Simon Mitchell said.

"He's got great attributes, he's a great size and he's already an astute defender.

"We're looking forward to welcoming him to the Phoenix."

The Next Stars program had its most successful NBA draft last month, with four players selected.

A total of nine players have been drafted directly from the NBL to the NBA since the program's inception.

French phenomenon Alex Sarr was taken at No.2 by the Washington Wizards last month, edging LaMelo Ball (No.3 in 2020) as the player picked highest out of the NBL.

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