The kid who grew up idolizing Mr. Basketballs is now a Mr. Basketball himself.

Lehi’s Cooper Lewis wasn’t on a Mr. Basketball-type trajectory two years ago as a sophomore, and wasn’t necessarily as a junior either last season. However, between his junior and senior season Lewis’ relentless commitment to get better — despite a knee injury that could’ve derailed that progress — allowed him to transform his game and become the most dominant boys basketball player in Utah this past season.

All it took was 600 made shots almost every day to become the state’s top scorer, and then a front row seat to the Lone Peak dynasty his father coached to cultivate a championship mentality.

“In a lot of ways he was built to have a chance to win a championship, and that was the most important thing to him, have a chance to win it,” said Lehi coach Quincy Lewis, also Cooper’s father.

Cooper Lewis not only put Lehi in a position to win the 6A championship by averaging 27.4 points this season, but he also got Lehi over the hump scoring 30 points in the title game against Corner Canyon to wrap up his high school career the way he’d always envisioned, lifting a trophy.

The bow on top of his outstanding season is being named the 38th Deseret News Mr. Basketball winner, following in the footsteps of past Lone Peak legends he grew up idolizing.

Cooper Lewis’ dad led Lone Peak to seven state titles from 2005 to 2014, the first of which he missed as he wasn’t quite born yet. Lone Peak’s 2011 state title, the first of four straight for the Knights, is what Lewis describes as one of his first memories of being a coach’s kid, the foundation for his winning mentality.

He was only 5, but he remembers celebrating with Lone Peak after it beat American Fork in the state championship game in the “Purple Palace” at Weber State. After the game, he recalls the celebration in the locker room with players splashing water all over. The scene repeated itself when he was 6, 7 and then 8.

“In his mind, this is what the season was. It’s you play the season and then you go into the locker room after the last game and you dump water over each other and jump around. He thought that was normal, but it’s not normal,” joked Quincy Lewis.

Sure enough, in his first year of high school in 2021, Cooper Lewis sat at the end of Lehi’s bench as his dad coached his new school to another state championship — the eighth of his illustrious career. The next two years though, the younger Lewis experienced how postseason wins aren’t really the norm, with Lehi bowing out of the 5A first round when he was a sophomore, and then the 5A quarterfinals a year ago.

This season, Cooper Lewis led Lehi to 19 regular season wins and a No. 2 seed for the 6A playoffs. Cooper Lewis drew upon Lone Peak’s storied legacy to put himself in the right frame of mind for the postseason, particularly the night before the final.

At 11:30 p.m. the night before the 6A title game, Lewis couldn’t sleep as his mind raced with anticipation.

“It just took forever for the moment to arrive,” he said.

So Lewis popped in the DVD for Lone Peak’s 2011 championship — the one he faintly recalls as a 5-year-old. The Knights beat rival American Fork 64-52, with his idol Nick Emery scoring 20 points to lead the way as a sophomore, while freshman sensation TJ Haws added seven points.

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“They won pretty big, and just watching their confidence out there definitely made me feel better and helped get back to sleep,” said Cooper Lewis. “I felt more prepared and more confident than anybody. I grew up watching Nick and TJ performing in these moments when I was a little kid, and I just watched how confident they were, they were just there to win, so I didn’t think any different when I got to that moment.”

Sure enough, Lewis went out and scored 30 points and knocked down five 3-pointers to lead Lehi to the 78-67 victory. He finished the season with 739 total points, which ranks 10th in state history for single-season scoring.

Lewis is currently verbally committed to Southern Idaho, but admits more Division I schools have been reaching out lately as their eyes have been opened to the late bloomer, as his dad calls his son.

Cooper Lewis didn’t score a single point in varsity as a freshman, and as a sophomore was only 5-foot-10 and overshadowed by many of the more high-profile players his age.

It was a reality that his dad Quincy Lewis, who was an assistant coach at BYU for four seasons, knew all too well.

“If you’re a college guy, and it’s the truth, you’re gonna look at those freshmen and sophomore guys who’ve already grown and those are the guys who are going to get recruiting early,” said Quincy Lewis.

In many ways, coach Lewis likened his son to former Lone Peak and BYU standout Jackson Emery, who didn’t play any varsity basketball until his junior season and then went on to lead Lone Peak to the state title in 2005 as a senior along with earning Mr. Basketball honors.

In Emery’s junior year he averaged 15.6 ppg, and by his senior year he’d raised it to 20.8 ppg. Lewis, meanwhile, had a massive jump in scoring from his junior to senior season going from 18.4 ppg to 27.4 ppg.

A major part of the scoring uptick came from behind the 3-point line as he made 48 3s as a junior and 110 as a senior. It was no coincidence, but rather the result of a technique change with his shot and over 3,000 makes a week to fine-tune it.

“We made an adjustment to his shot last spring. He shot everything inside the 3-point line really high, which we’d always worked on, but what we found during his junior year is he was having a hard time getting 3-point attempts,” said Quincy Lewis. “If we raise this up, I think we can get more attempts, we just have to be able to still shoot percentage on it, so we kind of messed around with it in the spring and by the time we hit summer it was full go, and it made a big difference.”

With the higher release point he could get a 3-pointer off even with defenders in his face, not to mention a growth spurt that helped him grow an inch and add lean muscle as well.

He was all prepared to showcase his new shot for college coaches at the Section 7 tournament in Phoenix last June, but he tore his meniscus, and the knee injury sidelined him through the rest of the summer. It was a temporary blow for a player who believed he had the talent and work ethic to follow in the footsteps of his past idols, but it didn’t sway his determination.

To keep sharp during those two months of recovery, Lewis laid in bed with a ball and simulated his release point on making the 600 buckets he would’ve had if he had been healthy.

He was back on the court several months before the start of the season, and his dad said that “by the time we hit December you could tell he was going to have some big games,” said Lewis.

In the preseason, Cooper Lewis averaged 22.2 points, but in the second half of the season his scoring went through the roof as he averaged 31.4 points through region and the playoffs. He reached the 40-point plateau on three occasions, including 47 points in the region opener against American Fork.

The only thing he cared about was lifting the trophy at the end of the season.

“You work so hard for it with your teammates and your brothers. … Winning that with them was so surreal and special, we all knew how hard we’d worked together. It was pure happiness, you’re kind of on top of the world,” said Cooper Lewis.

When Lewis finally looked at his phone on the championship bus ride home, he had 118 new text messages. Two in particular stood out, congratulatory texts from former Lone Peak stars Jackson Emery and Nick Emery.

“Hearing that from those two guys, your childhood heroes, that meant the world to me,” said Cooper Lewis.

Now, he’ll try and follow in their footsteps with productive college careers as well, wherever that ends up being.


38 years of Deseret News Mr. Basketball recipients

2024 — Cooper Lewis, Lehi.

2023Quentin Meza, Cyprus.

2022Collin Chandler, Farmington.

2021Ethan Potter, Layton.

2020Dallin Hall, Fremont.

2019Rylan Jones, Olympus.

2018Rylan Jones, Olympus.

2017Jaxon Brenchley, Ridgeline.

2016Frank Jackson, Lone Peak.

2015Jesse Wade, Davis.

2014TJ Haws, Lone Peak.

2013Nick Emery, Lone Peak.

2012Jordan Loveridge, West Jordan.

2011Tyrell Corbin, West.

2010Kyle Collinsworth, Provo.

2009Tyler Haws, Lone Peak.

2008Tyler Haws, Lone Peak.

2007Morgan Grim, Riverton.

2006Daniel Deane, Judge Memorial.

2005Jackson Emery, Lone Peak.

2004Tai Wesley, Provo.

2003Josh Olsen, Alta.

2002Brody Van Brocklin, Davis.

2001Jared Jensen, Fremont.

2000Garner Meads, Brighton.

1999Tim Henry, Mountain View.

1998Tony Brown, Mountain Crest.

1997Britton Johnsen, Murray.

1996Jeff Johnsen, Murray.

1995Jeff Johnsen, Murray.

1994Alex Jensen, Viewmont.

1993Ben Melmeth, Judge.

1992JaRon Boone, Skyline.

1991Justin Weidauer, Cottonwood.

1990Kenneth Roberts, Bingham.

1989Shawn Bradley, Emery.

1988 — Matt Bowman, Timpview.

1987 — Kurt Miller, Ben Lomond.