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Spring Football Is in Air for Lewis

Times Staff Writer

Basketball has been one long waiting game for forward Marcedes Lewis.

The season hasn’t worked out as well as the two-sport freshman hoped. Since joining the team after football season Jan. 6, he has played only 26 minutes in seven games, totaling nine points and four rebounds.

“There’s been a lot of down time,” he said.

Lewis, a 6-foot-6 tight end who is on a football scholarship, watched from afar as his football teammates went through an excruciating off-season conditioning program implemented by new Coach Karl Dorrell.

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“Guys say the workouts are real intense, very tough,” Lewis said. “They feel good because they are getting in shape, but at the same time they don’t like it. They haven’t worked like this -- ever.”

Lewis, expected to battle for a starting position in the fall, is somewhat behind, although he has gained 10 pounds since January, climbing to 250. He does not lift weights with the football players in the morning because his class schedule is structured around afternoon basketball practice.

That is about to change. Spring football begins April 2, and unless the basketball team makes a miracle run to the Final Four, Lewis soon will be putting on pads. Like the rest of the football players, he had a one-on-one meeting with Dorrell and came away impressed.

“I’m anxious to get started [playing football],” he said. “We need to win. There’s a whole new energy with Coach Dorrell.”

Lewis’ primary contribution in basketball has been to toughen freshmen centers Ryan Hollins and Michael Fey by giving them a taste of a football mentality during practice.

“They are just learning what it means to be intense,” Lewis said.

Hollins, however, has become a starter while Lewis languishes on the bench. It has been a tough season, but Lewis plans to give basketball another try.

“I want to see what the new coach has to say,” he said.

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The Pacific 10 Conference has made a change in the way tickets are sold for the conference tournament in an effort to sell out Staples Center.

Tickets are being sold for each of four sessions: the 1:20 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. games Thursday; the 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. games Thursday; the semifinals Friday; and the championship game Saturday.

Previously, tickets were sold only for the entire event at a cost of $135.

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