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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 / January 18.
  • Boost Mobile: Lance May Miss Game; Planning Visits

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    NEW YORK – ESPN may lose its biggest attraction for Friday night’s nationally televised Boost Mobile Elite 24 event at Harlem’s Rucker Park.

    New York’s own Lance Stephenson of Brooklyn Lincoln High School may be forced to miss the game because of a groin injury suffered recently.

    “I hurt it at the Unlimited tournament at West 4th (St.). I’m going to try (and play). Right now it’s a no, but hopefully I’ll be ready,” said the 6-foot-5 Stephenson, who sat out Thursday’s practice session and scrimmage at Sports Club LA in Manhattan.

    Stephenson is one of 24 players slated to compete in the game that will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

    Without Stephenson on the White/The Goat squad, The Blue/Skip to My Lou team rolled, 82-52, in front of a large collection of media, as well as current and former NBA players Kenny Anderson, Chauncey Billups and Allan Houston. Anderson, another legendary New York guard, is coaching Stephenson’s team along with Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio, while Billups will coach the Blue team with Lincoln coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton.

    “The trainer said he’s going to stretch the pain out, and then I’m just going to rest up and see if I can play (Friday),” added Stephenson, the Co-MVP of last year’s game after dropping 36 points.

    As far as colleges go, Stephenson says he won’t decide on a college until after the upcoming season, but he has some visits in mind.

    “I would like to visit Memphis, Texas, Kansas and USC a little bit more,” the 6-foot-5 Stephenson said during a community service event at Grant’s Tomb in Manhattan.

    As far as Kansas, Stephenson said: “I like the tradition of Kansas, the coach (Bill Self). I like the players that have played there. Brandon Rush, he’s a good solid player. I see me in the same predicament as him. ”

    On Memphis, Stephenson said: “Me and Derrick Rose are cool. We went to the adidas Nations last year, we talked about how he’s doing. I wish him the best of luck. He said, ‘You next, so watch me and I’m going to show you how you do it.’ And he showed me.”

    Stephenson, ranked No. 9 in the Rivals 150 for the Class of 2009, has previously visited USC and UCLA unofficially for AAU tournaments.

    Asked if he was still considering St. John’s, Stephenson said, “Yeah, yeah.”

    St. John’s just got a commitment from Omari Lawrence of South Kent (Conn.), but Stephenson said that wouldn’t necessarily impact his decision.

    “Omari Lawrence is a good player. He’s from New York and he comes from a good school,” he said.

     Whatever happens, he won’t decide until after the season.

    “Right now, I’m just worrying about basketball and at the end I’ll do all that college stuff,” he said. “I’m going to do my high school season and after that I look forward to telling everybody what school I should go to.”

    For the first time since being cut from the USA U18 National Team last month, Stephenson commented on head coach Bob McKillop’s decision to leave him off the roster for Argentina. He said McKillop didn’t give him a full explanation at the time, and in fact praised his game.

    “I was upset because of the simple fact that he didn’t pick me and then they lost (to Argentina in the final),” he said. “I don’t like to lose, so I would never let my team lose, especially playing against another country.”

    Stephenson said his father, Lance Sr., kept track of the tournament on the Internet.

    “I was just upset, and mad a little bit,” he said.

    “Lance is a tremendous basketball player,” McKillop told the New York Daily News at the time. “The question is what was happening with those other four guys on the court, when Lance is on the court? Five percent of the game is played with the ball in your hands. The other 95% is played without the ball in your hands. Lance had to work on that. We try to implement the team concept of passing more than dribbling. That was something other players got better and better at.

    “It was a very difficult decision,” added McKillop, who led Davidson College to a memorable Elite Eight run in last year’s NCAA Tournament. “We said from the beginning that it wasn’t a selection of the best players, as much as it was about having the best group fit.”


    If  Stephenson does play in the Boost Mobile game this year, “I think it will be a great experience,” Stephenson said . “It’s my class so I think I have to show a little bit more stuff this time.

    “I’m going to try and play hard. Just try to get everybody involved and have a fun time, and whatever happens, happens.”


    Lincoln coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton says the Lance and the Railsplitters will play three games this season on the ESPN family of networks:

    Dec.  11 – vs. Putnam (Okla.) and Xavier Henry, at Oklahoma City

    Jan. 19 – vs. LeFlore (Ala.) and DeMarcus Cousins, at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

    Feb. 13 – vs. St. Patrick (N.J.) and Dexter Strickland and Mike Gilchrist, at LIU Brooklyn in the PrimeTime Shootout

    **Lincoln will also play Paterson Catholic Jan. 23 in the PrimeTime at Rutgers

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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.