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.
There will be no college announcement from Lance Stephenson today.
Apparently the coaches at Kansas, Maryland and St. John’s — as well as their fans — will have to wait until Stephenson finalizes his plans.
“Me and my family and I have decided that we are going to wait it out and I’m going to make the best decision for me and my family,” Stephenson told SNY’s Brooklyn Sal at the McDonald’s All-American media day.
Lance Stephenson Sr. called the McDonald’s PR people Monday night and told them his son wasn’t yet ready to announce his college decision. The 6-foot-5 Stephenson was expected to announce for Kansas today.
Stephenson is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009 according to Hoop Scoop and No. 9 by Rivals. This marks the second time he has delayed his announcement. He was originally supposed to do it March 21 at Madison Square Garden, but held off.
“It wasn’t a change,” he said. “It’s just been hard for me and my family to make a decision. I’m just going to wait it out.” He added: “This is my life. I want to go somewhere that I’m comfortable and I can play at.”
It remains unclear if John Calipari’s pending move to Kentucky has anything to do with Stephenson’s decision. If Calipari were to take the Kentucky job, several of his Memphis recruits, including wing Xavier Henry, could follow suit.
“We came [to Memphis] because of the style of basketball and the way the coach coaches,” Carl Henry, Xavier’s father, said in a phone interview. “I haven’t talked to my sons [Xavier & C.J.]. Knowing them, they would probably want to leave.”
Calipari could also reach out to Stephenson to inquire about his interest in Kentucky. Calipari did not recruit Stephenson at Memphis, but if Henry were to go somewhere else, Calipari might go for Stephenson instead.
Kansas and Memphis where Henry’s final two choices, and he could look to go to Kansas if Calipari leaves. The worst-case scenario for Kansas fans would be losing out on both Henry and Stephenson.
Stephenson seemed to indicate the Calipari move was not foremost in his thinking, though.
“The coaches that I’m talking to say they’re nowhere near leaving so I’m not worried about that,” Stephenson said.
It could also be that Stephenson wants to see what Kansas guard Sherron Collins and big man Cole Aldrich are doing before committing to Kansas, but indications are that Aldrich will return. Stephenson has long said he wants to play with a talented big man.
“They’re great players,” he said of Collins and Aldrich. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Kansas, Sherron Collins and Aldrich, so I’m just going to wait it out and that’s it.”
The fact that he didn’t commit on March 21 at Madison Square Garden would seem to indicate he won’t commit to St. John’s.
“I think if I was at St. John’s it would be a better program anyway,” he said. “It’s not who’s losing, who’s winning. It’s just how I felt.”
Maryland coach Gary Williams turned up unexpectedly last Saturday when Lincoln lost to Rice 77-50 in the New York State Federation Class AA semifinals in Glens Falls, N.Y. Lincoln power forward James Padgett has signed with Maryland, and Williams had been recruiting Stephenson as well.
Was that a factor?
“It’s not about that,” Stephenson said. “I’m just waiting it out, make the best decision for me and my family. I’m just waiting it out.”
Stephenson also put to bed rumors that he might go overseas instead of to college.
“No, I’m not worrying about overseas,” he said. “I think college is a better choice to go to and I want to play in college.”
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.