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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Lance Stephenson’s attorney says his client is innocent of the sexual assault charges against him and believes it’s an open-and shut case.
Stephenson, the 6-foot-5 McDonald’s All-American out of Brooklyn Lincoln High School, and one of his teammates, Darwin “Buddha” Ellis, are charged with the misdemeanor of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old female student last Oct. 3 outside the school.
They are to appear in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Tuesday.
A third young man, the team’s 15-year-old manager, was already acquitted in the same incident in family court.
“[Stephenson] is 100 percent innocent,” said Alberto Ebanks, Stephenson’s Brooklyn-based attorney. “Just apply logic to the situation. At 2:50 p.m. as school is letting out, this God-awful incident goes on across the street from the school and no one sees anything? No one? Not one school safety officer, not one member of the administration, not one fellow classmate? Come on.
“It’s just a shame.”
Ebanks said the alleged victim maintains the incident lasted for “10 minutes,” but he said she is not credible.
“I think she has issues, I think she has problems,” he said. “I can’t imagine why she would make these God-awful terrible allegations. But she’s painted herself into a corner and she’s decided to go forward with them.”
Ebanks said he will call several character witnesses on Stephenson’s behalf on Tuesday.
“I believe that I have at least two lined up,” he said.
Ebanks said he’s uncertain how long the case will last, but he doesn’t expect it to last longer than “a couple of days.”
“[Stephenson’s] eager to put this behind him. He’s wanted to,” Ebanks said. “This is not a case where we’re hoping to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. We feel it’s a pretty transparent case. He’d like to clear his name.”
Ebanks said he doesn’t talk much with Stephenson about his college plans, but expects that once the case is settled, Lance will be able to choose a school.
“I think so,” he said. “I really just talk to him about the case.”
Arizona and Memphis are involved with Stephenson, the all-time leading scorer in New York State history, but Florida International is no longer in the mix.
“[Florida International coach Isiah Thomas] said they can’t get him,” said Latavious Williams, a 6-7 forward from Texas who is also being recruited by FIU.
Stephenson is due to play this weekend in the is8 semifinals in Queens with the New York Panthers. He scored a game-high 38 points in last Sunday’s quarterfinals.
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.