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.
Now that Xavier Henry is headed to Kansas, the college basketball world is waiting on Lance Stephenson.
Will Stephenson sign with hometown St. John’s? Will he surprise some people and pick Maryland? Or will another school, such as Kentucky or Memphis, both of whom were spurned by Henry, jump in the mix.
“This is my life. I want to go somewhere that I’m comfortable and I can play at,” Stephenson said on March 31 when he delayed his announcement for the second time.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Stephenson Camp is still keeping a low profile, perhaps waiting for Henry’s official announcement on Thursday at Putnam City High School.
Another factor in Lance’s decision could be the fate of Maryland point guard Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez announced Wednesday night that he would declare for the NBA Draft but would not hire an agent, meaning he could return next season.
“Just to see where I am at, just to see who is going to be my competition,” Vasquez previously told The Washington Post. “It will get me better, so if I come back I know what I will have to work on.”
If Vasquez does indeed leave, what effect will that have on Stephenson? Does it turn him off because Maryland would be losing a great player, or does it open up a chance for Lance to come in and star right away?
I have reported all along that Maryland was out and that it would come down to either Kansas or St. John’s. I also hear that the Maryland coaches are not that optimistic about landing Stephenson. That said, head coach Gary Williams made a trip to Coney Island last Friday to meet with the Stephensons.
Meantime, the St. John’s coaches patiently await Stephenson’s decision. There has been no new news on that front since Stephenson visited the Queens campus and head coach Norm Roberts’ house more than a week ago.
Memphis head coach Josh Pastner tried to reach out to the Stephenson Camp, but we have no reason to believe that is going anywhere.
Before the Henry news broke, I was also told Kentucky was not involved with Lance. John Calipari could suddenly make a late run at Stephenson, which would certainly make things interesting, but I’ve heard nothing concrete on that.
For a long time, it appeared that St. John’s was the favorite to land Stephenson even though Lance and his family have said they wanted to get him out of the city. Why? Because it’s close to family and friends, it affords him the chance to play regularly in Madison Square Garden and it could easily springboard him to the NBA next year.
Then he appeared poised to announce for Kansas on March 31, only to hold off at the last minute.
With Kansas now seemingly out of the picture, I honestly don’t know what Lance will do. If I had to bet, I’d say he goes to St. John’s for a year, but this recruitment has been filled with one surprise after another from Day One.
So perhaps the ending will follow suit.
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 and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, 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.