The Sudbury Five team and fans are mourning the loss of one of the organization’s rising stars.
The passing of Carl Lewis III was announced on social media on Nov. 17. The date of his passing was not released. Lewis was 19. According to media reports, the Los Angeles Country Medical Examiner reported Lewis was the victim of gun violence in his home community of Compton, California.
The NBC affiliate in Los Angeles also reported on the shooting that took Lewis' life. No arrests have been made.
In a news release, the Five said it was “deeply saddened and devastated” by the young player’s death, calling him an “extremely” talented player and a valued member of the team.
“As a coach, I think you prepare for a lot of things, but the death of a player is something you don’t ever expect or prepare for,” said Five GM and Head Coach Logan Stutz. “It’s definitely tough right now.”
Noting Lewis’ young age, Stutz said the 19-year-old had an uncanny ability “to make you smile.”
“He was just so young, I think what makes it even tougher,” Stutz is quoted as saying. “He drove me crazy at times, but no player made me laugh like Carl. He always knew how to make you smile. I will miss that for sure. Looking back, he always gave me these huge hugs and I would hug him back. I did not know then, but I think I understand now, how much that meant to him. We will always remember Carl. He was just a special player and a special person.”
From Lynwood, California, the 6-11, 275-pound Lewis was signed by the Five in November 2019 and played 18 games in the 2019-2020 National Basketball League of Canada season. He netted 39 rebounds, six blocks and 54 points over those games.
The Sudbury Five Fanatics Facebook page also noted Lewis’ size and talent on the court.
“Coming to The Five, Carl was immediately recognized on the floor as a big body, big talent player who was a threat anywhere in the paint,” the post reads. “He played with tremendous passion and seemed to fit in quickly with the rest of his teammates. A fan favourite. Our heart goes out to Carl's family, friends, teammates and coaches. This is a devastating loss of talent and potential.”
Lewis played for Lynwood High School and Compton High School before finishing his high school career at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona. He would have been eligible for the NBA draft in 2023.
Ronnie Flores, a sportswriter, editor and publisher for GrassrootsHoops.net, BallIsLife.com and CalHiSports.com, tweeted on Nov. 17 that Lewis’ coach at Compton High had lost three players in the six months.
“This has been a really tough year for our California basketball community. Coach Tony Thomas, who had Carl Lewis for a year at Compton HS, has lost 3 former or future players in the past six months (including a 14-Y/O),” Flores wrote. “As you can imagine he is beyond frustrated/angry.”