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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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Friday / June 23.
  • Sonny Vaccaro on Lance Stephenson & Jeremy Tyler; Quintrell Thomas Close to Decision

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    Sonny Vaccaro has served as an advisor to Lance Stephenson and his family during the recruiting process and even the Godfather of Grassroots Basketball is mystified by this particular recruitment.

    Vaccaro said during a recent  interview with a Memphis radio station that he initially thought Memphis would land the 6-foot-5 Stephenson, but now he is uncertain.

    “For some reason his family can’t make this decision,” Vaccaro said. “Last week at this time I would’ve thought he was going to Memphis. That was the last time I talked to ‘Stretch,’ that’s his dad. He texted me and said they’re interested in another school right now.”

    That school is Arizona, which Stephenson may visit in the coming weeks. Arizona assistant Book Richardson is a New York native who coached Stephenson on a USA Basketball team in 2007 that won a gold medal. We reported here last night that Arizona commit Kevin Parrom told reporters that Stephenson was interested in visiting Arizona.

    “I hope he just goes somewhere and plays basketball,” Vaccaro said. “I don’t have an opinion, I really don’t.”

    Vaccaro did say he told the Stephenson family that Europe was not a good option for Lance. Vaccaro helped broker the Brandon Jennings-to-Italy contract and is currently in Greece working on Jeremy Tyler’s deal.

    “I told him that I didn’t think he could do it, not as a player but as a mentality,” Vaccaro said.

    After initially saying last summer he was interested in what Jennings was doing, Stephenson has repeatedly said he won’t go to Europe.

    “I don’t think it’s a good decision to go to Europe,” Stephenson told the MSG Network in January. “I just want to go to college and experience new things.”

    Which college that will be remains to be seen.

    Vaccaro flew to Greece on Sunday to begin negotiating with Greek clubs Olympiacos and Panathinaikos for the rights to Tyler.

    The story was first reported by The New York Times.

    Tyler is the 6-foot-11 junior center from San Diego High School who recently announced he would skip his senior year of high school to play professionally in Europe for two years before entering the 2011 NBA Draft.

    “Nothing’s formal, very informal meetings,” Vaccaro said by phone just before his plane took off. “Interest is there from a few countries, Greece, Spain, Italy and Israel.”

    Olympiacos signed former Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Childress last off-season.

    Billionaire shipping magnate Panayiotis Angelopoulos, one of the team’s owners, told The New York Times last fall that he would continue to try to land a big fish from the N.B.A. free-agent market.

    Panathinaikos, Olympiacos’ rival, won the Euroleague title last Sunday.

    “I have dreams every night about me playing,” Tyler told The Times. “Mentally, I’m pretty ready to go out there and play. I want to show the world that this wasn’t a bad decision.”

    QUINTRELL THOMAS CLOSE TO DECISION

    Former St. Patrick of Elizabeth standout Quintrell Thomas is expected to announce soon between UNLV, St. Joe’s and Siena.

    “He should be making a decision in the next day or so,” Derrick Bobbitt, Thomas’ AAU coach, wrote in a text.

    The 6-foot-8 Thomas is transferring from Kansas and has visited all three schools.

    His weekend visit to Siena went well, by all accounts.

    UNLV was near the top of his list the first time around and appears to be this time as well. He has spoken with head coach Lon Kruger and assistant Lew Hill, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

    “As soon as I announced I was transferring, one of my [high school] coaches told me they wanted to get in contact with me,” Thomas told the newspaper.

    “It’s a very real option,” he said.

    Thomas spent one year at Kansas in which he averaged 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds. Next year he would be playing behind fellow sophomores Markieff and Marcus Morris, returning big man Cole Aldrich and probably incoming freshman Thomas Robinson as well.

    (Photos courtesy Getty Images and New York Times)

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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.

    • WHY has everyone made this kid out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. He will not win a national championship with any of the teams that he has or is considering ever since kansas said see you later to BORN READY. Neither arizona o9r memphis who seem to be the favorites or st johns and maryland who are supposed to be completly eliminated are going to win a national championship next season. I am a die hard st johjns fan and even thought the johnnies are a much improved team and would only get better with the edition of stephenson but they would not win a championship. the onluy one of these 4 teams that couldave would have been memphis but that was before caliperi left and henry henry cousins and probably bledsoe left with him to go to kentucky or to kansas. The tigers wouldave had a great team with bledsoe henry henry cousins and even but none of them are there so now lance can make them respectable again but never win it all like he desires so the GOD BORN READY will not follow his dream and win it all

    • FIU is investing in Lance as well..

      Will this process ever come to an end???????

      http://zsmart.blogspot.com/2009/05/fiu-making-pitch-for-born-ready.html

      • That source is BS. Just a random blog with no credentials. I do not believe for a second that Lance is more interested in FIU than Arizona or Memphis. THIS article that is respectable and usually accurate says that Arizona is Lance’s leader as of now.