Someone is giving former Cincinnati freshman, Lance Stephenson, some bad advice. In a statement read yesterday by the man-child from Brooklyn known as “Born Ready” announced that he has decided to declare for the upcoming 2010 NBA Draft. True, having the ability to posterize opponents on a nightly basis is one of the skills needed to be a professional hoop star, but does Stephenson possess the maturity and desire(you know, the things that you learn in college) to be a good pro?
A little over a year ago, with Stephenson fresh off winning his 4th straight NYC City Championship his stock couldn’t have been higher as he was a can’t miss, Top 10 prospect in the ’09 class coming out of high school. Because of his supposed NBA ready 6’5, 220 lb frame, his name even surfaced in the yearly argument that at age 17, he could be an NBA star already.
Then came all sorts of rumors about his recruitment, that he wouldn’t listen to any coach, refused to work on his game, and legal issues over a former girlfriend and child. As the baggage piled up, the scholarship offers from top tier schools like Florida, Arizona, Maryland, and Memphis dried up with only the University of Cincinnati willing to take a chance on the former Lincoln HS star. Even though he led the Bearcats in scoring at 12.3 ppg and proved to have an all around game as evidence of his 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per night, Lance was highly inconsistent for coach Mick Cronin. And although he almost led his club to the NCAA Tournament by way of a deep Big East Tourney run, the majority opinion is that while possessing a number of skills needed to succeed on the next level, he just isn’t ready.
I myself have been guilty of caving in to the hype of Stephenson by both ranking him as #7 in our Top 10 NCAA Freshman for 2010 but also stating in our Big East Tournament Preview that,”If Lance can get the Bearcats to win a few rounds in the Big East Tournament, Lance may be thinking of going pro.” Apparently the latter came true.
Here’s his official statement:
“I have decided to withdraw from the University of Cincinnati and enter my name into this year’s NBA draft,” Stephenson said. “After carefully reviewing my options, it is now clear to me that the need to emotionally and financially support my family, especially my young daughter, along with my long-standing and burning passion to play in the NBA, outweighs my desire to return to the University of Cincinnati.
“I want to thank the administration, the athletic department and the entire coaching staff, especially Mick Cronin and Tony Stubblefield at the University of Cincinnati, for their support and guidance over the course of this past year. It was and always will be a privilege to be a Bearcat.”
Where will he be selected? His announcement came as such a surprise to the net’s best draft analysts that he wasn’t even on their radar for 2010. NBADraft.net has Lance as the 31st pick in the 2011 Draft and DraftExpress.com has his as the 39th pick next year. In my opinion, someone will take a gamble on him in the 2nd round since he has the skills to be either become the next Tyreke Evans, or a slightly smaller version of Lebron James(whom he was compared to coming out of HS) but also the baggage to be the next Isaiah Rider. Another year in Cincinnati could have turned him into a lottery pick next year.
Check out a highlight video of Lance Stephenson at Cincinnati:
Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen is a regular columnist for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, UpperDeckblog.com, and his own site, Hoops Haven.