Stephenson Planning Arizona Visit; Lance, Taylor Lead Panthers Into is8 Semis
Lance Stephenson dropped 38 points to lead the New York Panthers to an 84-76 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Is8/Nike Spring High School Classic in Queens, N.Y. on Sunday, but the biggest news about the Brooklyn star came off the court.
Arizona-bound wing Kevin Parrom, who played with Stephenson on the Panthers, told reporters Stephenson would visit the PAC-10 school shortly with his father, Lance Stephenson Sr.
“I guess he’s showing some interest in Arizona because he said he will come out there to visit,” Parrom told UAHoopscoach.com. “With all the questions I’m getting I feel like I’m part of the coaching staff recruiting him, but that’s cool. I understand it.
“If we can bring another player like him to add to what we have, that would be great. He’s one of those ‘wonder kids.’ If we get him, great. I can’t get mad at that. That would be a plus.”
Sources at Arizona said no plans are currently in motion for Stephenson to visit Arizona this week or next weekend.
“It wouldn’t surprise me [if he visited],” a source close to Stephenson said. “I’ve been hearing about Arizona for two weeks now.
“I would be surprised if he missed next weekend’s playoffs.”
The Panthers will meet the New Heights Juniors on Saturday at 12:30 and the other semi features RISE against the Playaz Sophomores at 11 a.m. The championship game is May 17 at 11 a.m.
Stephenson is still weighing his college options, with both Memphis and Arizona making a late push.
He has taken official visits to Kansas, Maryland and St. John’s, leaving him with two more to take.
“I have no clue where he is at [in the decison-making process],” Parrom said. “I don’t think he has a clue about it either. I don’t know what he’s thinking about. I guess he’s just taking his time.
“It’s still up in the air but he is showing interest in Arizona, and I’m cool with that.”
A source within the Lincoln High school athletic department said the school is “planning a press conference at Lincoln within the upcoming weeks” to announce Stephenson’s decision.
But Stephenson has a court date May 19 and it’s looking increasingly likely that his announcement will come after the NCAA late signing date of May 20.
Stephenson converted 13-of-25 shots, was 2-for-4 from 3 and 8-for-12 from the line. He added three rebounds, four assists and two steals.
“Lance had 38,” Panthers coach Gary Charles said. “He was focused today with the game.”
Pitt-bound big man Dante Taylor (pictured) had 16 points and 17 rebounds, 10 offensive, for the Panthers. And Villanova-bound point guard Maalik Wayns had 12 points, one assist and one rebound.
Syracuse-bound guard Brandon Triche had 15 points, four assists, three rebounds and one steal for New York Elite. Louisville-bound point guard Peyton Siva flew in and had 14 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals.
***For more on Stephenson, watch this video interview with Tom Konchalski.
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.