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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.
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Saturday / May 27.
  • Stephenson Talks, Says He'll Hold Off on Decision

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    There will be no college announcement from Lance Stephenson today.

    Apparently the coaches at Kansas, Maryland and St. John’s — as well as their fans — will have to wait until Stephenson finalizes his plans.

    “Me and my family and I have decided that we are going to wait it out and I’m going to make the best decision for me and my family,” Stephenson told SNY’s Brooklyn Sal at the McDonald’s All-American media day.

    Lance Stephenson Sr. called the McDonald’s PR people Monday night and told them his son wasn’t yet ready to announce his college decision. The 6-foot-5 Stephenson was expected to announce for Kansas today.

    Stephenson is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009 according to Hoop Scoop and No. 9 by Rivals. This marks the second time he  has delayed his announcement. He was originally supposed to do it March 21 at Madison Square Garden, but held off.

    “It wasn’t a change,” he said. “It’s just been hard for me and my family to make a decision. I’m just going to wait it out.”

    He added: “This is my life. I want to go somewhere that I’m comfortable and I can play at.”

    It remains unclear if John Calipari’s pending move to Kentucky has anything to do with Stephenson’s decision. If Calipari were to take the Kentucky job, several of his Memphis recruits, including wing Xavier Henry, could follow suit.

    “We came [to Memphis] because of the style of basketball and the way the coach coaches,” Carl Henry, Xavier’s father, said in a phone interview. “I haven’t talked to my sons [Xavier & C.J.]. Knowing them, they would probably want to leave.”

    Calipari could also reach out to Stephenson to inquire about his interest in Kentucky. Calipari did not recruit Stephenson at Memphis, but if Henry were to go somewhere else, Calipari might go for Stephenson instead.

    Kansas and Memphis where Henry’s final two choices, and he could look to go to Kansas if Calipari leaves. The worst-case scenario for Kansas fans would be losing out on both Henry and Stephenson.

    Stephenson seemed to indicate the Calipari move was not foremost in his thinking, though.

    “The coaches that I’m talking to say they’re nowhere near leaving so I’m not worried about that,” Stephenson said.

    It could also be that Stephenson wants to see what Kansas guard Sherron Collins and big man Cole Aldrich are doing before committing to Kansas, but indications are that Aldrich will return. Stephenson has long said he wants to play with a talented big man.

    “They’re great players,” he said of Collins and Aldrich. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Kansas, Sherron Collins and Aldrich,  so I’m just going to wait it out and that’s it.”

    The fact that he didn’t commit on March 21 at Madison Square Garden would seem to indicate he won’t commit to St. John’s.

    “I think if I was at St. John’s it would be a better program anyway,” he said. “It’s not who’s losing, who’s winning. It’s just how I felt.”

    Maryland coach Gary Williams turned up unexpectedly last Saturday when Lincoln lost to Rice 77-50 in the New York State Federation Class AA semifinals in Glens Falls, N.Y. Lincoln power forward James Padgett has signed with Maryland, and Williams had been recruiting Stephenson as well.

    Was that a factor?

    “It’s not about that,” Stephenson said. “I’m just waiting it out, make the best decision for me and my family. I’m just waiting it out.”

    Stephenson also put to bed rumors that he might go overseas instead of to college.

    “No, I’m not worrying about overseas,” he said. “I think college is a better choice to go to and I want to play in college.”

    Stephenson said he had no timetable for deciding. The late signing period begins April 15.

    “I don’t know right now,” he said. “Me and my father are going to talk about it. Hopefully [I’ll make] it soon.”

    **For more on Lance, read this stellar piece of reportage by Kevin Armstrong of SI.com.

    (Photo courtesy Daily News)

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. 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.

    • This has everything to do with Xavier Henry opening things up after Calipari’s move. I am going to be really angry if we lose Lance messing around with X again. Come on Lance! Call to KU, we want you!

    • Adam, any word on your end as to possible reasons for the delay?

    • Lance was going to choose KU but is waiting now to see what Aldridch and Collins do. If the go pro he will re-eval but if the stay he will go to KU

    • two things have happened here:

      1. Calipari called and said he was going to UK and was interested in Lance.

      or

      2. As many have thought all along, he has major acacemic issues, despite his Father swearting he has qualified already.

    • Collins by all accounts is staying. Cole may leave but we still have tons of depth below the rim. See new article regarding X… This has something to do with Cal’s move. Either Cal has contacted Lance about UK or Lance is afraid X is going to go to KU.

    • Coach Cal can land all 3 undecided players. Lance is probably having a sit down with Calipari right now as we speak. I would not go to KU, but we all know that St. Johns and Maryland is out

      • Why would Maryland be out? If anything, I’d say their chances have mildy increased judging by what’s currently going on.

    • Just think when Pitino took over at Kentucky he landed Jamal Mashburn when they were on probation. UK can land Stephenson and next yr can be an automatic #1 seed in the the tournament next yr

    • I want Lance here at kansas. Xavier chose memphis and that is fine. Not really, but ill deal with it. We need to sign Lance and be happy with the amazing prospect that we have just signed. Why would you say he shouldnt come to kansas. He can be a instant starter with a killer line-up and be responsible in helping the team back to another championship. the line up next year would be killer, even if cole doesnt come back.

    • COME TO KU LANCE!!!!

      Xavier is NOT coming to KU, not after turning them down.
      He’ll end up at Memphis, or Kentucky.

      I don’t know what the hesitation might be, but Kansas fans want Lance.
      John Wall would be icing on the cake.

    • I don’t think Danny Manning and the fans in Kansas know what they are asking for, this kid is a pre-madonna. Anyway, He might wait to see what happens and choose Maryland since Gary showed up to Padge and his last game. Why would Lance wait to see where Xavier is going? Kansas doesn’t even have anymore scholarships left, neither does Maryland. Somebody from either team would have to transfer or enter the draft. Cole Aldrich already said he’s not going to enter so idk why ppl still insist he will. UK already has about 20 kids on the roster. Cal doesn’t really need these recruits, if he can convince meeks and patterson to stay which i think they will, they’lll be fine next year.

    • This is going to be a crazy next few weeks IMO with all the Calimari craziness going on. Zags, thanks for staying on top of everything. I know there are thousands in the Kansas City area who have recently started reading your blog.

    • I think Lance read my post and changed his mind, who wants to play in the big 12 when you can play against the best comp in the big east or acc.

    • How delusional are these Maryland fans who think that the ACC is superior in any way to the Big 12? ACC is UNC and that’s pretty much it. Duke has fallen off. ACC had a terrible tourney record this year. Meanwhile the Big 12 has put a few guys in the league like I don’t know… Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Blake Griffin (will be #1 overall this year).. 3 top-two picks in the last 3 years is pretty good. Then there were the 5 KU players picked last year. Who has Maryland put in the NBA in the last couple years again? I mean there has to be a ton right? Because they play against UNC and Duke a couple times a year.

      • kufanatic93
        your crzy to put big 12 up against ACC. Big 12 has had 2 championships in the last 39 years, both Kansas…ACC had 3 teams #1 spot in the polls this year. To compare what Big 12 has put in the nba vs. md alone is just stupid. No doubt Kansas is a great program but Gary definately does very well with producing nba talent, alot of times with recruits off the radar…ala joe smith, chris wilcox, francis, dixon….

        • Edved

          Mr. KU super fan up there is clearly. his whole basis for his argument that the Big 12 is superior to the ACC is all based upon the past 365 days. Regardless of tounament record for ONE YEAR…. ACC usually puts more teams in the tournament EVERY YEAR than the Big 12 does in 2 years. Says more about the ACC being a powerful force in basketball than it does about Big 12 dominating.

      • kufanatic93

        You are obviously envious of the ACC long time domination of the NCAA’s Division I world.

        Last 20 years: NCAA Champions

        6 times – ACC
        5 times – SEC
        3 times – Big East
        2 times – PAC 10
        2 times – Big 10
        1 time – MWC (UNLV)
        1 time – Big 12

        To say a league has “fallen off” because you choose whatever stats prove your point, is very ignorant. Your whole argument is based upon one or two years of statistics. Perhaps the Big 12 is trending toward being superior… But until they start winning championships… Shut Up!

    • Im ok with Lance’s choice either way.
      Another wild card option? Lance is upset that the info leaked on his decision to attend Kansas. So in an effort to throw a curve ball and be a completly anticipated suprise he reschedules to make fans and media alike wonder if Kansas really is his choice!

      I like entertaining the X to Kansas idea once again. I am not sure how Wall, Cousins, and Henry would all follow Cal to Kentucky. Has anyone speculating on this checked Kentucky’s roster? They didn’t have one single senior graduate this year plus four players who signed letters of intent. Could they really pull three more scholarships? Highly unlikely……I think they are more in the hole then Kansas! It seems if Cal did depart Henry could consider coming to KU, a major reason for going to Memphis was because his brother is there (who isn’t there on an atheletic scholarship) they could easily make the transition from Memphis to Kansas if they wanted.

      I am also not sure how much X wants to play with guys like Cousin and Wall. At his press conference he seemed content with being the “guy”. Not sure how that works with a class of Wall, Cousins, Henry, Orton, Patterson, etc…..

      I wouldn’t waste too much time on whether the ACC/Big East is better then the Big 12. Though your right, outside of UNC the Big 12’s tournament record has been significantly better which to me is usually a good indicator of how well a conference does.

    • To kufanatic93:

      I see your point about the whole NBA thing…Maryland did put two players in the league over the past two years. Granted, neither is played right now so I’ll give that to you.

      The reason a recruit would want to come to Maryland is to become better and learn from a great coach. Gary Williams is still one of the best coaches out there. He takes mediocre talent and gets more out of them than anyone would have ever imagined.

      Look at this year’s team..they were picked to finish in the bottom two or three in the ACC this year. With mediocre talent, he coached into the second round of the NCAAT. In 2001 and 2002, we did not have the best team. Granted, they weren’t scrubs either. Two final fours and a championship was more than those teams should have accomplished.

      Duke has seven McDonald’s AA on their rosters, we have ZERO. A team with seven McDonalds AA should make it more than just one game further than a team with zero. I’m sure we can agree on that. Right?

      I am not here to argue with you. My point is that a recruit should want to come to Maryland to play under a great coach who will make them better and maximize their potential. I don’t think anyone has a doubt that Lance Stephenson will be in the league some day. Why not come to a place where you will improve and play against talented teams?

    • Self has a better record making unhearlded players into NBA’ers than even Gary does (who’s done pretty well). Lance is going to get great coaching at either spot. Who had 7 McDAAs on their squad last year?

    • Gotcha on Duke’s McDAAs. Of course I would say that a lot of Duke’s McDAAs wouldn’t be McDAAs if they chose Maryland. Coach K’s recruiting has fallen off big time in the last few years. Just look at the other teams that have offered a kid.

    • I’m thinking he is delaying because his mother prefers him to go to College Park so he is closer to home. It seemed obvious before that he and his father were pretty much set on KU, and now he’s talking about how hard the decision is for him and his family. The fact that Gary was in the house when his team got blown out may have given Mom just enough to work with to cause him to delay a bit.

    • Maybe he’s seriously thinking about St. John’s. That’s pretty close to home, and if he wants to be the man… he will be the man, undoubtedly, at St. John’s. At Maryland, he’ll be playing with Vasquez who is already the man.

    • Adam,

      Any thoughts on this..?

    • I think they have made it clear that St. John’s is TOO close to home.

    • Who cares about a conference’s tourney record? Those are one and out games, it’s not like it was a series. My main argument was that it would be more impressive averaging 20 + in the acc/big east rather than the big 12. You can’t lie to yourself and say it’s not. And to further support why he shouldn’t go to Kansas is that he doesn’t play team basketball. If you’re a real Kansas fan you’d realize that he wouldn’t fit in their offense. He’s never gonna average over 15 ppg on that team. Look at this line up….

      Sherron Collins/ Elijah Johnson
      Tayshaun Taylor
      Lance Stephenson
      Jeff Whithey/ Thomas Robinson
      Cole Aldrich

      No way he avg’s more than 15 on this team. Bill Self is trying to replicate the same team that won him a natl championship last year where…wait for it….nobody on the team avg over 16.0 ppg. This upcoming season’s team if everything goes to plan will be playing 11-12 guys where are the minutes for Lance? Both Morris bros. off the bench than Morningstar, than Tyrell Reed and not to mention Travis Releford who you guys don’t even play. No way he goes to KU. And he’s got a kid, unless Calipari is willing to buy this guy a house for his girlfriend and daughter which he would be open to, i doubt he’ll go there. He’s stayin home or relatively close to it.

    • “No way he goes to KU.”

      Where the hell have you been the past 2 weeks? If he doesn’t go to KU it’s cause of X. Not any of your nonsense.

      Also, the Big 12 has more tourney wins than any other conference. The ACC is Duke, UNC and a bunch of crap teams including Maryland.

    • Lol@ the ACC having crap teams. Wtf is in the BIG 12 besides Kansas and Texas?! Punk ass K-State? Texas Tech? Baylor? The Mighty Nebraska Cornhuskers? give me a friggin’ break! hahahahahaha I hope you guys get X and Lance stays home. X sucks, he’s rated # 1 in the country for what? He sucks so bad that even you Jaycoccs would take Lance over him in a heartbeat! Even though Lance doesn’t play team ball. Ol’ Kansas faithfuls sellin’ their souls for a year’s worth a talent. Sorry excuse for a fan.

      • I’m not really sure where this Maryland garbage is coming from? They are hardly ever relevant. They have 1 NCAA title. Ever. They aren’t a contender for their own conference on any type of consistent basis. No school worries about them. Gary Williams is winding it down. Still a good coach and a great basketball guy, but he is winding his career down. Also, bravo for listing the bottom of the Big XII. I could list Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland, and NC State. Yeah, what has the ACC done? Please. Both leagues are top heavy, as are most leagues. NC will always be elite, and Duke will always be ranked that high. A few other teams will have a good year or two, but the ACC isn’t that great.

    • Blowhard….I mean Gohard
      Wow……..Way to mention the bottom half of the league while failing to mention Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Texas A&M. That would be like me doing the same thing asking who does A.C.C. have? Then mentioning trash teams like Virgina, N.C. State, Miami, etc.
      Freaking give us a break, don’t bring some weak bush league talk about how X sucks. Really? You think he sucks? Then you my friend have some sort of special knowledge that God has given you. Because the consensus is that he is awesome hence why he is rated top 3 by every major college basketball media outlet.
      Honestley if we get Lance or Xavier it’s just gravy to another top 10 recruiting class. We don’t have to have them to be contenders for a championship. Maryland HAS to have Lance Stephenson next year just to assure they make the tournament! Stop acting like Maryland was picked to finish at the bottom as well hence why Gary Williams is such a good coach. They were picked to finish basically where they did, how a team goes 7-9 in conference play and looses 14 games and still makes the tournament blows me away. Obviously pointing towards an ACC bias (no it isn’t because the ACC is a good conference look at the tournament record)

      Blowhard you should go back to eating crabcakes and sail boating while wearing a popped collar……..deuche

    • These things are clear:

      Year in and year out the ACC and the Big East are the best basketball conferences in the nation. (I have the Big 12 as the fith most competitive basketball conference, behind SEC and Big Ten.)

      Gary Williams is a Hall of Fame coach and one of the best game day coaches around. He has placed many players in the pros. He’s never been a great recruiter and left a lot of the recruiting chores over the last 15 years to his assistants, Hahn, Dickerson and Patsos, all of whom have left in the last five years to run their own programs. The AD and fans have gotten on Gary about this and he has responded of late.

      Stephenson pretty much laid an egg in tonight’s game. He had a couple good assists, but in general he was outshined by the competition. His stock dropped substantially tonight. Gallon and Cousin, on the other hand……

      Calipari’s move has shaken the college basketball world. Memphis will not be the same. Many of their recruits will go elsewhere.

      Neither Kansas, Maryland nor Kentucky have scholarships to give. Any new recruit will have to take a scholarship from those already on the team.

      Xavier will probably now go to Kentucky, if they can find a scholarship. (How can they not?)

      Now here’s opinion:

      Terrapins92 might have a point about Lance’s mom. Lawerence is a long way from home.

      Vinson, who seems ready to commit to Maryland if Stephenson doesn’t, might be a better fit for Maryland than Stephenson.

      With Calipari and Pitino both in Kentucky, well, that’ll sure be fun to watch. Kinda like Carolina v. Duke, but in Kentucky.

      Was that Tim McCormick who announced to the world tonight that Stephenson was favoring Memphis??? Geez, the media world has gone bonkers over Calipari moving. Get a clue McCormick.

    • Lance was going to Kansas until X said he might go there as well after hearing about Cal. If X says he is following Cal to Kentucky Lance will go to Kansas.
      If X takes his time again then Lance might get sick of waiting and end up at Maryland. but that is not where he wants to be.