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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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Thursday / January 18.
  • Williams Wants to Play at Memphis with Lance

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    Latavious Williams says he could end up playing for Memphis and he hopes Lance Stephenson joins him there.

    Williams, a 6-foot-8 combo forward out of Humble (TX) Christian Life Center, plans to announce in the next few days among Memphis, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Florida International.

    “I’d say Memphis is the favorite,” Williams said Wednesday by phone. “More likely, it’s Memphis right now.”

    That would be good news for Josh Pastner’s program, which watched point guardsĀ  Eric Bledsoe and John Wall both choose Kentucky over Memphis; DeMarcus Cousins bail on an oral commitment to Memphis in favor of Kentucky; and Darnell Dodson depart to play for John Calipari‘s new team as well.

    Williams asked about Stephenson’s plans and said he’d love to play with “Born Ready” in Memphis.

    “He needs to go to Memphis,” Williams said of the 6-foot-5 Stephenson, the all-time leading scorer in New York State history.

    Stephenson is still involved in a sexual assault case in Brooklyn that was adjourned until June 29. He may wait until after the case is resolved to pick a school.

    Arizona, Memphis and possibly Maryland are in the mix.

    Williams, who has spoken with FIU coach Isiah Thomas, reiterated that Thomas told him FIU was out of the Stephenson Sweepstakes.

    “He had said they couldn’t get him,” Williams said.

    Williams has never met Stephenson but watched him play in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

    “I just saw him play,” he said. “I had seen him play in the McDonald’s All-American Game and some other game.”

    Still, if Williams ends up picking Memphis, he would like Lance to join him there, giving Pastner a couple of dangerous options on the wings.

    “I haven’t met him,” Williams said. “I saw him in Vegas. If he goes to Memphis, that would be a good thing.”

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    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.

    • Is choosing Memphis a matter of saving face?
      In that, Williams, even as an athlete-student, would have a difficult time gaining admission to Georgetown.

    • I attended Georgetown Law. The basketball players aren’t exactly scholars. Not exactly Ivy League admissions standards for athletes.

    • Latavious,
      I think you will be making a wise choice. Memphis will welcome you with open arms and make you feel at home. Heck, the Rondezvous and Beale Street is on me one night. You will find no better fans in the country, I can assure you of that.
      Pastner and Murphy will make you the best player you can be. You mentioned Stephenson, it would be a pleasure to watch both of you guys playing for Mphs this year. It would be highly probable that we would be at least a sweet 16 candidate.
      At any rate, you would make an incredible addition to a great team.

      Good luck to you and I hope you make the right decision. MEMPHIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • DUDE…if he comes here you will NOT treat him to Rendevous or Beale St. Can you say “NCAA violation”??? jeeeezzzzz

    • No better fans in the country? haha. Memphis fans have just started popping up the past couple of years. Gimme a break.

      • just starting popping up? You really need to be better informed before you make that comment. I just noticed that your a GayHawk and I forgot that Gayhawks and KYjelly fans have the greatest of everything….players, coaches, fans, records? etc. No other schools can even mention tradition or fans around you arrogant SOB’s.
        I guess the rest of the BB nation should just quit playing and let KU and UK play for the NC.
        Gosh…..where do I enroll to become someone as great as you guys?

    • Adam

      Why all of a sudden is Maryland back in the mix? What has changed since your previous posts?

    • Maryland were never out of it.

      Gary recently visited him.
      Still dont know why Adam would take them out of the mix in the first place.

    • Know that but obv something changed in adam’s mind….

    • memphis fan calm down, all he is saying is that memphis just recently got back onto the national scene, and before that it had been a while.

      no need to freak out.

      and i hope lance goes to maryland, i am so tired of seeing (and hearing about) carolina all the time in the acc, and being a KU fan it is natural that i hate duke, so i hope UMD gets lance for a year and shakes that conference up a bit.

    • jhawk4

      I didn’t freak out. HA HA….Gimme a break……..those are smart a__ comments and that is plain to see. He felt a need to try and put Mphs down and there was no call for it. I wrote comments to Latavious and a small mention about Stephenson so why the comments about Mphs????
      If he made no comments then I would not have made any.

      After all, our program has been through a lot in the past 6 or 7 week and we get excited about something good only to get smart a___ comments. Frankly, I dont understand why you would take up for him? Why didn’t he take up for himself?

    • memphisfan you dont need to be so defensive lol.

      he thinks Memphis fans are not the best in the country. he didnt say one word about KU being superior or anything. yet you attack him and go all “gayhawk” on him. it really isnt funny, it makes you sound like a missourian and i promise you dont want to be like that lol.

    • I’ve lived in Memphis my whole life, and those of us that live here know how big Memphis basketball is and has been in this community long before Calipari was here, but the reality is that there were a few years during the Tic Price years and early Calipari years where the monetary support (i.e. ticket sales) were down, even if the community was fully behind the team. The only thing that people outside of a this area see is how full the arena is, though, and let’s face it, there were some years when the arena rarely filled up. The past several years, just about every game has sold out, and all indications are that renewals for next year are very strong, but knowing that there were some years there where there were alot of empty seats makes me understand why jayhawkfan11 has the false impression that Memphis fans “just started popping up the past couple of years.” He doesn’t live here, so he doesn’t realize how big Memphis basketball is to this community and has been for a very long time.

    • AZ,

      Took Maryland out because who wants to play for such a restrictive offense/system.

      Come on.

      Gary will not change his ways.
      He is too old to change.

      Last attempt by Gary …..

    • USC.trojan, your a friggin retard. Gary makes every kid better who plays for him. Look at his track record. He has sent numorous non-McDonalds All Americans/non-ranked players to the NBA. He is a HALL OF FAME coach and we don’t need Lance to beat Duke and UNC. Trojans suck and your coach runs a dirty program. Good luck next year.

    • I remember the Kieth Lee era and the Mid-South Coliseum being packed every year playing Louisville, Virginia Tech, Florida State, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Tulane, all from the Metro Conference . One year the Final 4 was Georgetown, Villinova, Saint Johns and Memphis. Where was the ACC, Big12, Pac10 and the other BCS conferences that year? The public television station WKNO had huge ratings due to EVERY game being replayed at 11 pm because the game was sold out. Memphis fans have been loud & proud for a long time. Memphis didn’t just arrive on the national scene under Calipari.

    • USC.trojan is a frickin idiot. The FLEX offence that Gary Williams runs is the complete opposite of restrictive. If you ever watched the Terps, you know that Steve Blake, Walt Williams, Steve Francis, John Gilchrist and Vasquez were never restricted and were all very creative. Get a clue.

    • Wow! Come on dude, that was over 25 years ago. Its time to stop living in the past. If i’m not mistaken, that was the Dana Kirk era. He was a cheater, dismissed for a criminal investigation. Then, Larry Finch takes over he program. The same Larry Finch who led Memphis to the 72-73 national chmpionship game. His 29 point was only to be out done by Bill Walton’s 21-22 from the floor. Finch returned Memphis to prominence during his 11 years there and even began graduating players. However, unable to keep the local talent in Memphis, he was fired after his last game in the concession area of the Pyramid. That tells you a lot right there! Now, Cal leaves for greener pastures. There always seem to be a lot a drama associated with Memphis

      • Wow come on dude. You need to read slower or have someone read this thread to you. He was making the point that the program has been very good for years – not just under Cal. Thanks for making his point for him although you didn’t even know what you were doing.

    • USC-trojan.

      Maryland actually runs quite a bit when they get the chance and the Flex usually gives players a good look at the basket – either off the dribble or a kick-out for a three-pointer. Their main problem is inconsistency – not a restrictive offense. I don’t know if you ever watched Maryland the year that Steve Francis played for them, but he had a lot of highlight moments.

      You seem to enjoy pissing people off. Well have fun with that, you do it well.

    • It’s looking pretty good for Maryland if those are his 3 choices…

    • Lets go Maryland,

      Gary was a good coach and a Hall a Fame coach.
      He has just past his prime.

      His offense is what it is.
      It won’t change.

      Do not see Maryland winning any National Championship, in the next 10 years.

      I do like seeing your team beat Dookies and Heels.

      Cash Money Baby…

    • Kansas fans have really let that miracle win over Memphis in the championship game a couple of years ago go to their heads.I hate to break it to you but anybody watching that game knows Memphis was the better team. You were given a gift. It had been 20 years since the last one so it’s not like you are in the Final 4 every year. You should be thanking Calipari and Memphis for even getting Xavier Henry because he wasn’t even considering Kansas til Cal left us. Coach Pastner is going to make us forget Cal really fast.

      • No one watching the game thought Memphis was the better team. Sorry but I’m as unbiased as it gets around here having attended Syracuse and Georgetown. The entire room I watched it in was talking about how Memphis was getting outplayed in every aspect of the game and still managed to be up.

        It happens sometimes in basketball, but you’re deluded if you think you were the better team that year. North Carolina was probably better than Kansas that year as well fwiw and Kansas destroyed them in the semifinal.

        • Well gee Big Ben maybe you and your little group of friends don’t represent the entire country. All I know is the most dominant player on the court D. Rose was sick the entire first half and really didn’t contribute til late in the second half and Memphis still had a nine point lead with 2 minutes to go. Every national commentator that I heard after the game said the same thing that Memphis should have won the National Championship.I guess they chould have checked with you guys first since you are apparently the experts.

          • It doesn’t matter much because the better team won, but why do you think Derrick Rose was shut down in the second half? Would you think that maybe his coach should have seen what Kansas was doing to stop Rose and adjusted the gameplan to take advantage of their only matchup advantage?

          • Big Ben, I am going to try this one more time and I’m done with it. I don’t know if your reading comprehension skills are lacking or what but what i said above was that Derrick Rose was sick in the first half and did very little and really did not assert himself until LATE IN THE SECOND HALF. It had nothing to do with what Kansas was or was not doing. Even with Derrick not playing like he is capable he still took over the game for a 5-7 minute stretch along with CDR helping Memphis to a 9 point lead with 2 minutes to go.With a healthy Derrick Rose Memphis wins by double digits just like they had done over Michigan State by 18, Texas by 17, and UCLA by 16 to get to the championship game. If you know anything about basketball you know the importance of the point guard in a game of this magnitude.

    • Hey Zags where are hearing from that Maryland is back in the race?

    • trogan

      I was a Maryland fan for 32 years before they won a championship so it won’t bother me if they don’t win another one for ten years, if ever. They’re just not the blue-chip magnet they were in the 1970s under Lefty.

      Gary’s an old school coach – I’ll grant you that. But as far as him being past his prime, give him the players that played at UNC this year and you’d see him cutting down the nets again – even with his flex offense.

      A question for you: If Gary were the coach at Duke, UNC, or Kansas – do you think the same players would go to those schools or be turned off by his style? Bobby Knight was a dictator but still seemed to attract top talent. Maybe kids today wouldn’t want to play for him – I’m not sure.

    • Adam,

      You have been saying MD is out of it and Memphis and Arizona are the major players but Lance’s father has said it is between MARYLAND AND ARIZONA.

      Now either he is keeping secrets or your sources have some explaining to do. I dont know why he would leave them out if it wasn’t true.

      Is this some game he is playing or are people trying to get Lance to Memphis by leaking the wrong info?

    • Terp4Life,
      Exactly where did Lance’s father say it was down to Maryland and Arizona?

      Link Please

      • what are the implications of not signing before May 20th? I thought that was the cut off date.

    • Lin doesn’t work JO JO