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.
Lance Stephenson will play his first nationally televised game as a college freshman today when Cincinnati meets Vanderbilt in the Maui Invitational at 5:30 on ESPN2.
The 6-foot-6 Stephenson is averaging 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds for the Bearcats (2-0). After a rough first game in which he scored just 7 points and was called a “nervous wreck” by Bearcats coach Mick Cronin, Stephenson scored 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting in last week’s 92-68 win over Toledo.
Speaking of Stephenson, the Daily News had a good feature on Sunday on Lincoln coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton and addresses several Stephenson-related issues.
First, NBA agent Andy Miller, who serves as former Lincoln star Sebastian Telfair’s agent, denies any involvement with Stephenson.
The rumor is that Miller paid Morton to bring Stephenson to Lincoln, so that Tiny could then steer Lance to Miller once he went pro.
“I would not play a role in grassroots basketball on that level in any shape or form, nor would I have interest in it,” Miller told Mitch Abramson.
Second, Tiny says dealing with the constant involvement of Lance’s father, Lance Stephenson, Sr., prevented him from developing a close relationship with Lance.
“In terms of just trying to help this kid become a man, I know we all have our parents, but there’s always a second or third person who we all look to,” Morton told the paper. “And I think that Lance needed that person outside of his family, and I couldn’t provide that because there was too much [interference].”
To Cronin’s credit, he told Lance’s parents before Stephenson committed that he would be in charge once Lance got to campus.
NOTE TO CINCINNATI BROADCASTERSSpeaking of Cincinnati, can Bearcats announcers and writers please stop saying sophomore Rashad Bishop is from Newark, N.J.?
I’m sure Jimmy Ring, who coached Bishop at Paterson Kennedy High School, would be shocked to discover that.
Bishop is from Paterson, The Silk City, and spent one year under Dan Hurley at Newark St. Benedict’s. He’s not from Newark.
Bishop poured in a career-high 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting in the win over Toledo. He may not get the attention that Lance, Deonta Vaughn and Yancy Gates get, but Rashad Bishop can play.
“He and I had a lot of talks in the off-season about trying to motivate him,” Cronin said. “He has logged two years of 22-plus minutes in the Big East. I don’t care how talented the young guys are, they don’t have the experience come January. I told him you can’t accept that we signed Lance Stephenson and that you won’t play.
“I’m going to play the players that will get us wins. We can’t lose a guy with two great years of experience. He does things that get us to win. Some things don’t show up in the stat sheet. He is going to be a key guy for our team. He is the best defender on our team. I think Rashad is one of the top two or three defenders in the Big East.”
Cronin also said Bishop, who struggled academically at Kennedy and went to St. Benedict’s to get his grades in order, is succeeding in the classroom.
“By far, as of right now, he has the best grades on our team,” Cronin said. “No question that I shocked him. You have a two year starter, junior, who has been through the wars, and you have a guy who knows how to win. He will play for you. If he scores for us, we are going to become a whole different team offensively.”
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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.