Lucas Siewert’s basketball journey comes full circle with pro contract in native Brazil

Former Buffs forward to play in Sau Paulo

BOULDER, CO – Dec. 10, 2019: University of Colorado’s Lucas Siewert shoots after a technical foul during an NCAA game against Northern Iowa on Tuesday at the Coors Event Center in Boulder. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

Just before his sophomore year of high school, Lucas Siewert left everything behind to take a chance his basketball skills would one day lead to a better future.

Last month, Siewert’s long and sometimes lonely basketball journey came full circle, as the former Colorado Buffaloes forward signed his first professional contract in his native Brazil.

Siewert, a four-year member of coach Tad Boyle’s rotation who ended his career among the Buffs’ all-time leaders in several 3-point categories as well as games played, signed with Corinthians Paulista. The club is based in Sao Paulo, which is several hours north along the eastern coast of Brazil from Siewert’s hometown of Joinville.

As a teenager, Siewert migrated to Los Angeles with only a limited handle on the English language in hopes of pursing a basketball career. After his parents were denied a chance to see their son during his senior season at CU due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Siewert now gets an opportunity to play close to home nearly eight years after packing his bags for America.

“We talk a lot about our guys in the NBA, but we’ve had even more than that start careers as professional basketball players if you go through the last 10 years,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “What makes it special for Lucas is that he’s close to home. He came to America I think as a sophomore as high school, so he was away from his family for seven really formative years.”

Siewert missed just one game due to injury during his four-year career and ultimately appeared in 130 games, a total that ranks sixth in team history. For much of his senior season Siewert was a candidate for the Pac-12 Conference Sixth Man of the Year award, finishing the year averaging 7.7 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game. He recorded the only double-double of his senior year, and the third of his career, with a 16-point, 10-rebound outing against Washington State while star forward Tyler Bey was sidelined with a hand injury.

Siewert’s 140 made 3-pointers ranks eighth all-time at CU, and his career 3-point percentage of .384 ranks sixth all-time.

Perhaps no CU player suffered a bigger emotional setback during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic than Siewert. While he and fellow senior Shane Gatling were denied an opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament, Siewert’s parents earlier in the year had to decide whether they would travel to Boulder for Senior Day or graduation. They chose graduation, which eventually was canceled, though Siewert’s brother made it to Senior Day as well has a few other games down the stretch.

“His brother made it out for a couple games late in the year, which was great. But what was so heartbreaking for me was that his mom and dad were coming out for graduation and that got taken away,” Boyle said. “I’ll always have a warm place in my heart for Lucas and Shane Gatling, our two seniors this year,” Boyle said. “They’ll never have the tourney back, and we were an NCAA Tournament team and we all know it. They know it, our returning players know it. I think our fans know it. But we didn’t get a chance to show it.”