The Boilermakers had just lost point guard Ronnie Johnson, and found themselves in need of depth. A talented, experienced player like Lewis would be a perfect fit for Painter's system. The coach couldn't wait to get in contact. Lewis was flattered by the interest.
"Just knowing Coach Painter reached out to me, it's the head coach," Lewis said. "At the end of the day, the head coach is calling the shots. He has full confidence in me."
Lewis, a current sophomore with two years of eligibility remaining, is considering Purdue, Butler, Charlotte, Gonzaga, Minnesota, UAB and Xavier. He was originally recruited to NC State by Sidney Lowe, but was inherited by new coach Mark Gottfried.
In the end, the coaching change wasn't the right fit for Lewis, and a transfer became the best option.
"I loved it at NC State," Lewis said. "It's a great school. But it was the right decision for me to make a change."
The plan for Lewis is to visit Purdue and Charlotte in the coming weeks, then make a decision after that. He spent Monday and Tuesday on Butler's campus in Indianapolis, visiting with the Bulldogs' players and coaches.
"I love Butler," Lewis said. "It's a great school. I know a lot of their players. … I know that coaching staff for a while. A lot of other coaching staffs talk highly of them. I have a lot of respect and confidence I them, as they do for me."
For Lewis, the ideal program will fit his game—different from the changes in Raleigh. He's looking for a certain style of play and approach from the coach.
"I need a coach that has full confidence in me and someone I can trust," said Lewis.
"[I'm looking for] a school that's going to play my style of offense, get up and down, play off ball screens."
Due to NCAA rules, Lewis would have to sit out a season after transferring. He would have two years of eligibility remaining. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound guard would use the time to add some size to his frame.
"I'm going to take advantage of it and get bigger, faster, stronger and come back my junior year at the highest level," Lewis said.
Butler has the early lead in the new recruiting battle for Lewis, but the Boilermakers and several others will get their shot, too. Schools will pull out all stops to bring in a talented point guard like Lewis.