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Monday / December 18.
  • Stephenson Visits With Self, Roberts; Xavier Henry to Visit Kentucky

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    Lance Stephenson was courted by both Kansas coach Bill Self and St. John’s coach Norm Roberts this weekend and it appears that he will choose between those two schools in the coming days.

    The NCAA late signing period begins Wednesday.

    Self flew up to visit with the 6-foot-5 Stephenson at his Coney Island home on Friday afternoon. Stephenson and his family later took an official visit to St. John’s that included the standard campus fare as well as a visit to Roberts’ home in Dix Hills, N.Y.

    “The visit went well,” a St. John’s source said. “There is no timetable [on a decision]. He and his family had a good time.”

    A source close to the Stephenson family told me the other day that Lance was inching closer to a decision.

    “They’re getting closer to making a decision,” the source said. “They [the coaches] are all making their last minute pitches and I think this is St John’s last chance to beat the other couple [schools]. This is their best opportunity right now. This is their last chance right now.”

    Meantime, Xavier Henry told Michael Eaves of Fox Sports Net at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland that he is planning on visiting Kentucky after the Jordan Brand Classic on April 18.

    Henry will play at either Memphis, Kansas or Kentucky next season.

    If the Henry decision drags out over time, Kansas could opt to take a commitment from Stephenson and get it over with.

    On the other hand, both Xavier and C.J. Henry could wind up at Kentucky and Stephenson could end up at St. John’s, leaving Kansas without either.

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is reportedly in Portland. Although he cannot attend games at the Nike Hoop Summit, he can speak with players away from the arena.

    He has already landed former Memphis commit DeMarcus Cousins and is now working on the Henrys and John Wall, who once listed Memphis as a favorite.

    Eaves said he spoke with Wall in Portland and asked if Kentucky was a strong candidate for his services.

    “Definitely,” Wall told him.

    Wall told Eaves that he would be interested in playing for Calipari because he sent Derrick Rose to the NBA and likely will do the same with Tyreke Evans. Both of those players spent just one year on campus before declaring for the NBA.

    In Saturday night’s game between Team USA and the World Select team, Henry scored a game-high 22 points, hitting 6-of-11 from 3. Wall added 13 points and a tournament-record 11 assists. He also tied the steals mark with five.

    Wall, Henry and Cousins will all be in New York this week for the Jordan Classic.
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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.

    • Adam what do you think the chances are that lance picks SJU after his visit to SJU?

    • I really don’t know, I think it’s going to be interesting. KU was his first choice, so much could depend on what Self told him about number of players/scholarships and where Xavier fits into it all.

    • Adam – Do you think Lance narrowing his pool of schools from three to two this weekend put any added pressure on Xavier to make his decision sooner than later? From what I hear, Collins and Aldrich may announce their future plans at tonight’s KU banquet, which could prompt a decision from Stephenson in the following days.

    • Honestly, I think Xavier and Lance are each going about their own lives, not worrying too much about the other. The question is: What is Bill Self thinking and what is he telling these guys? If Xavier doesn’t visit Kentucky until after April 18, that gives plenty of time for Lance to act first.

      Tonight should provide more info though, you are right.

      • Hey Adam is there really that much difference between these two players. Why won’t Bill just take a commitment from Lance and move on? It seems Xavier is just dragging this out, and is not sure if he really wants to go to KU. Where as obviously Lance does. I just hope that KU does not lose out on both of them. What are your takes?

    • The KU fanbase seems to prefer Xavier. Wonder if Bill Self feels the same way. Still doesn’t KU have a scholarship issue? Wouldn’t one more player have to leave in addition to the two that already announced their transfer plans?

    • As I understand it, KU would have 12 scholarship players next year if both Collins and Aldrich come back. That includes the additions of Withey, Johnson and Robinson.

      That leaves them one to give for either Lance, Xavier or John Wall.

      If they brought in more than one of those guys, something else would have to happen to create room.

      Again, I don’t really know Coach Self’s motivation in all of this. He could’ve had Lance two weeks ago, but appears to still be courting him. Xavier doesn’t look like he’ll decide for a while if he visits Kentucky.

    • Apparently Xavier is disputing what Michael Eaves is reporting. The KU blog theshiver.com received a text from Xavier saying he has not planned a trip to Lexington. This isn’t the first time Eaves’s homerism (UK graduate) has affected his journalism.

    • @Adam: Have you heard that Self actually told Stevenson to hold off or was it simply a matter of the website getting cleared and Stevenson wanting to be sure Sherron and Aldrich were returning before committing?

    • Adam, do you think UK has a decent chance at landing Xavier Henry or is it more likely that he ends up at Kansas? Also, where do you think John Wall will end up?

    • Obviously the best chance UK has to land Xavier is if:

      –Lance declares for Kansas first
      –Xavier actually visits UK and enjoys it
      –Calipari puts on a fullcourt press for X

      As for Lance, KU did tell him to hold off and he was also advised by others close to him to do so. I think KU was looking into the BornReady.tv site and was also checking out the Xavier situation. The adviser wanted to see what happened with Collins and Aldrich.

      Unclear how all this plays out, but it should be interesting!

      John Wall? I have no idea…Kentucky possibly, Baylor possibly. CAl is working him hard as well.

    • Adam,

      Rumors are stromng that Lance is visiting Cincinnati. Have you heard anything about this?

      Jeff

    • Alright, Collins and Aldrich are suppose to announce tonight that they will be back next year. Does this push Lance over the top and help him pull the trigger on Kansas, Adam? thanks

      • hey adam, is lance’s legal trouble playing a factor in the recruitment? Its known that lance has a bit of an attitude problem and was even cut from the u-18 usa team. do you think self and other coaches are skeptical to bring him into a already successful team such as Kansas? Personally where do you think he will end up? I also know that this link is kind of old but having following Lance for so long I think you will laugh at it, i know I did . its by a blogger in Long Island : http://www.thesportspoint.net/2008/07/lance-stephenson-is-bored.html , have you seen this yet?
        Last point who will make there college decision first : Jesus Shuttlesworth or Lance Stephenson?

    • Tonight both Sherron Collins and Cole Adrich announced they will return to Kansas next season.

      Doesn’t this put KU at 13 scholarship players, including the kids that signed LOI’s for the class of ’09?

      Oh and I love the title of this thread. It reads like Lance visited with himSelf LOL

    • Yes, this puts us at 13 with one left to give….TO LANCE!!! Come on, please! X can only jerk us around for so long.

      KANSAS wants LANCE!!!

      • No it put’s KU at 12 scholarship players with one remaining. Schools can only have 13 total.

    • X may be going to Memphis after all…CJ may not get his petition to transfer without sitting out a year, which would preclude him from playing with his brother unles X chooses Memphis…which came back into the picture when they hired Josh Pastner…Wall will be going to UK…more than a gut feeling…when X stays at Memphis, Nolan Dennis will attend UK

    • Collins and Aldrich are staying if not they wouldn’t be announcing their plans at a celebration banquet. No way Lance picks St. Johns over the perennial #1. He’s just making sure Collins and Aldrich stay before announcing.

    • Do you know this for a fact? If so it makes sense. I hope you are right.

      Where will Lance announce now? He won’t do it at the Garden if it’s not St. Johns right?