USI’s Jeron Lewis lives on with Eagles a decade after his tragic death


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) On January 14, 2010, tragedy struck the USI community. During the game against Kentucky Wesleyan that night, USI’s Jeron Lewis collapsed on the basketball court.

Lewis was pronounced dead 23 minutes after his fall. It was later determined he died because of an enlarged heart.

“I was just numb, it didn’t seem real,” said Kevin Gant, who was Lewis’s roommate on the team when the incident happened.

The 21-year-old Lewis left his legacy on the community and the Screaming Eagles basketball program. Today, the Eagles say they still feel his spirit with them daily. Head Coach Rodney Watson keeps a photo of Lewis in his office, along with the words “Bigger than Basketball”.

The Eagles say Lewis emulated everything they want in a USI player, and in fact, frequently tell recruits to model their lives after his. No player has worn the number 40 jersey since his death.

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(This story was originally published on January 15, 2020)

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