Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kansas is sending in its closer for Lance Stephenson.
Kansas assistant Danny Manning, who led the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship in 1988, is recruiting the 6-foot-5 Stephenson hard. He attended a Lincoln practice last week, according to a source.
Kansas figures that if Stephenson wants to develop into an NBA player at a high-level program, who better to teach him than Manning, the No. 1 overall pick by the L.A. Clippers in the 1988 NBA Draft?
Stephenson, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009 according to the Hoop Scoop and No. 9 by Rivals, will likely choose from among Kansas, Maryland and St. John’s and hopes to announce March 21 at Madison Square Garden after the PSAL championship game.
“It’s going to be a surprise,” Stephenson told the Daily News, referring to his pick.
St. John’s looked like it could’ve used Lance on the floor Wednesday, when it managed just 10 points in the first half — a Big East Tournament record — before losing to Marquette 74-45.
The St. John’s staff is working on setting up an official visit, but Stephenson has been to the Queens campus numerous times and says he enjoys playing in the Garden.
As for Maryland, guard Greivis Vasquez told Eric Prisbell of The Washington Post that he plans to test the NBA waters after this season, but would like to play with Stephenson if he returns to campus.
“If I come back, my goal is not going to be just to make the tournament,” Vasquez said. “My goal is to win a national championship. But, in the meantime, we’ve got to get Lance [Stephenson]. With a big-time scorer I can guarantee you a lot of things.”
Stephenson told me he would like to announce on March 21 at the Garden, but top-seeded Lincoln must first get past Brooklyn Boys & Girls in the semis at 5 p.m. on Saturday at St. John’s. [Note to schedule-makers, are you aware this game conflicts with Selection Sunday?]
Stephenson’s plans have understandably given bulletin board material to the Kangaroos, who have lost the last two PSAL finals to Lincoln at the Garden.
“The one thing that Lance did say is he understands that he’s gotta go through us,” Boys & Girls assistant Elmer Anderson said. “Our boys are quite confident with what we’re planning to do and the bottom line is we went 1-1 this year and we’re planning on a neutral court to get to the Garden, as opposed to playing at the Garden where they have a lot of familiarity.
“It’s going to be a tremendous battle and the team that plays the smartest and plays together is going to win the game. We’re confident because we have a lot of shooters and we’re gonna be ready.”
(Photo courtesy Daily News)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.