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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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Saturday / March 17.
  • Florida Losing Calathes, Targeting Lance?

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    The Florida Gators are in the news on two fronts today.

    First off, sophomore point guard Nick Calathes will bypass his final two years of college eligibility to play professionally…in Greece.

    Calathes, who holds a Greek passport and has dual citizenship, has agreed to terms with Euroleague champion Panathinaikos , the Orlando Sentinel reported.

    Calathes will reportedly earn $1.1 million in addition to home, car and tax credits. As part of the deal, he will have to pull out of the NBA Draft by June 15.

    Calathes, who averaged 17.2 points, 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds  last season, recently worked out for the Dallas Mavericks, who were interested in taking him at No. 22 in the June 25 NBA Draft.

    Calathes will join a number of Americans who chose to play in Europe. Point guard Brandon Jennings, who skipped his freshman year of college to play in Italy, is expected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming draft, and 6-10 high school junior Jeremy Tyler of San Diego will forgo his senior year to spend two years in Europe, potentially in Greece.

    Panathinaikos, which has won 29 Greek national titles and five Euroleague crowns, has featured a number of American over the years:  Dominique Wilkins, Byron Scott, Antonio Davis, Tony Delk and John Salley.

    By going to Greece, Calathes will also be closer to his brother, Pat, the former St. Joe’s star who now plays for Greek team Maroussi.

    Jeff Goodman of reports that John Calathes, Nick’s father, is behind the decision.

    “It makes no sense,” a source told Goodman. “Nick’s dream, like most American kids, is to play in the NBA. His dad is behind the decision.”

    In other Florida developments, the New York Daily News quoted sources close to Brooklyn Lincoln guard Lance Stephenson saying that Florida is now in play for the 6-5 McDonald’s All-American.

    Gary Charles, who coached Stephenson on the New York Panthers AAU team, said it wouldn’t surprise him if Florida came after Lance because the Gators needed a guard to replace Calathes.

    The Gators were in the John Wall Sweepstakes before Wall chose Kentucky.

    Yet Stephenson is a shooting guard, not a point guard, so he wouldn’t exactly fill the need.

    I haven’t gotten any independent confirmation that Florida is after Lance, and the leading programs still appear to be Arizona, Maryland and Memphis.

    Stephenson’s sexual assault case was adjourned until June 29 and it remains possible that no school would take a commitment from him until that is resolved.

    His attorney, Alberto Ebanks, is trying to get the case dismissed or plea bargained., citing a university source, reported that if Stephenson enrolled at Arizona before his name is cleared his enrollment would be subject to review by Arizona president Robert Shelton.

    Stephenson could be in violation of the Arizona’s Code of Conduct rules for current and prospective students if his name is not cleared.

    The rule for prohibited conduct includes: “Engaging in any illegal sexual offense, including but not limited to, sexual assault, public sexual indecency, or indecent exposure.”

    (Photo courtesy Kim Klement/US Presswire)

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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.

    • AZ,

      More on Lance and being admitted to Arizona.

      The site has more inputs.

      Looks like Lance will be admitted and will receive full admission at the conclusion of the case being dismissed.

      Just a formality.

    • LOL it took zero thought to know that there’d be something on Zagsblog citing a source (this time it’s actually a NY Daily News source) that Florida is now in play for Lance.


      This recruitment has become almost comical.

    • AZ,

      USC and Arizona have simliar admission standards.

      I spoke to USC and they indicated that many students get admitted …..and a great deal on put on probation. Becoming more of a norm at USC.

      But, what about the case…

      Ebanks was able to pull the court date IN?
      If Ebanks submits a motion that …..educational impact.
      The judge will pull in the date. The judge will have no choice.

      Ball is with – Ebanks .
      To do something.

      • Southern Cal is a private school. They can admit or deny anyone they want for whatever reason they want. I would be shocked if the ‘admission department’ at a private school would tell you anything at all. Arizona, as a public school, is open to far more scrutiny about their admissions process.

    • Good for Nick. If going to Greece is what he feels is in the best interest for his future, then more power to him. This can’t be a good sign for Billy D though. Calathes did a lot for a mediocure team last year and will not be easy to replace. How far have the Gators fallen since Donovan went to the NBA for that 48 hour tenure?

      As far as Lance and the code of conduct goes at the UofA :

      The rule for prohibited conduct includes: “Engaging in any illegal sexual offense, including but not limited to, sexual assault, public sexual indecency, or indecent exposure.”

      let me tell you something: I bar-tended on the Arizona campus for 5 years and if all of the co-eds who indecently exposed themselves in public were kicked out then the school would be 1/2 empty….

      I guess when you think about it, that is actually just more incentive for Lance Stephenson to become a Wildcat…. isn’t it?

    • This is not true. He heard from a source that Florida “may” come into play with Stephenson . Zags just exaggerated. This is just to kep us entertained while their is nothing going on.

      Anyways it is too late in the process for Florida to make a real dent especially when his dad said the final two schools are UMD and UA.

    • I think Lance to Florida is just as possible as him going to Arizona. He wants to get out of the city but certainly wants friends and family to see him on TV. He added Arizona super-late in this process, I don’t see why he wouldn’t add Florida this late.

      In fact, as I wrote that, I realized that Florida could be more likely since he now has the kind of coach he’s wanted to play for on the table. He obviously really wanted to play for Bill Self at Kansas. The closest to Bill Self among the names we’ve heard is Donovan.

      Also, if he can get into any of these schools he can get into Arizona, court case or no court case. The new coach may not want to bring him in until his name is cleared, but lets be honest, UA is probably the second least prestigious academically of the 4 schools that now seem to be in the picture.

      • And, as if it matters to Lance (if you can’t find a hot girl in a college town as a basketball player you’ve got your own issues), but Gainesville has better coeds than the other three. Now if he was considering Arizona STATE it might be close, but against this competition, Florida is head-and-shoulders above.

        • Ben, obviously you cannot determine what is a joke and what is a serious comment, but I can play too…. so, lets put all of the trivial nonsense about liability and accusations and eligibility of a top-5 talent aside and talk about the real issue here: Who’s women are hotter?

          I have always heard that Ole Miss has the hottest women in the SEC, but I personally have no experience of that, so I cannot comment. You say that Arizona State has better looking women than the UofA, so this must come from your personal experience then… right? I mean, you have seen this with your own eyes, otherwise you would not take a side in such a heated rivalry. I hope that your not just saying this because of some silly Sports Illustrated poll.

          I don’t know about the quality of SEC women on specific campuses, but I can tell you for a fact that if you are looking for spray tans, silicone and cologin injections, then ASU is the place for you. Phoenix has all of the superficiality of Los Angeles but without the burden of having an ocean… and the women reflect that. Tempe women are hot, sure, but they were also not born with 1/2 of the body parts they carry around with them.

          Me personally I have seen both campuses 1000s of times and the University of Arizona has more beautiful women hands down. Obviously Lance Stephenson will make a decision on a school based on what is in the best interests of his future. I am not in his camp, so I can’t really tell you if he is a silicon man, or not, but I guarantee you that one way or another he is not going to play for the scumdevils.

          • Firstly, there are plenty of hot women in every college town (even Syracuse). Most people will claim their town is the hottest which is great for them since they went there. The fact of the matter is there are a few schools where the culture is such that hundreds of jaw dropping hot girls surround you.

            I’ll agree with you that Scottsdale/Tempe tends to attract surgically enhanced beauty. Nice to look at but most of them are there for their Mrs degrees.

            UofA is alright, but for it’s location I was expecting more. In the Pac 10 I’d call it average, right there with Oregon, Washington and Cal. Oregon St, Wash St, and Stanford obviously bringing up the rear.

            Ole Miss? Not even close. Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama are all considerably better than Ole Miss. Florida, for as dumpy of a town as gainseville is, is just glorious for co-eds.

            And yes, all of this is first-hand experience (I have been on recruitment visits to probably 90% of the top 100 schools in the country for work). Again, UofA isn’t bad at all, it’s just not glorious like Florida, UCLA or Texas.

          • Also, the SEC, besides Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Arkansas, are all top 20-ish nationally in my head so saying Ole Miss isn’t close to Florida is overstating the case.

            Now, give the SEC girls 5 years and most of them are going to be Brittney Spears look-alikes (recent Brittney, not old school Brittney), but they’re pretty amazing from 18-22. If you’re looking for a long-term mate, find an attractive girl in the Big 12 or Big 10 (Wisconsin, Ohio State, Kansas and Texas are 4 of my favorite places to have to visit)- the towns are great, partially because the girls are so much more genuine and look like they’ll keep their beauty into their 40s and beyond.

          • Ben, UCLA has hot chicks? LOL that is hilarious and totally ruined your argument. You had me at least listening until you mentioned UCLA. Even UCLA students and alum (I know many as I live in LA) talk about how ugly the chicks are there (generally speaking). It’s also common knowledge that both UofA and ASU have some of the hottest girls in the country.

            I think I know why you didn’t like the UofA girls; the same reason you like UCLA girls- you have terrible taste in women. UT and Florida should sue you for defamation and libel for even mentioning their women with UCLA.

            UCLA? I still can’t get over that one…

          • UCLA definitely isn’t bad, but I was thinking USC when I typed UCLA. Either way, plenty of talent in LA to go around.

      • Also the web site quoted needs to learn about the law. As a state university, UA would open themselves up to HUGE liability if they refused entry to someone that was ACCUSED of a crime. Now if he’s convicted that’s obviously a different story, but I can’t imagine a large state university being so ignorant.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but for Florida to be ‘in play’ wouldn’t the Stephensons have to call Billy Donovan? I thought we were in a period on the calendar where Div I coaches can’t make any off campus contact including calling kids but could have contact if a kid showed up on campus for a visit, stopped by their office if an AAU event was going on their campus, or if the kid/parents called the coach.

    • And so goes another episode of “As The Hype Machine Turns.”

    • I have to agree with DiamondbackRuss. I would seem to be difficult for Florida to jump into the hunt for Stephenson right now. Perhaps that’s why “a source” floated the interest in a New York newspaper, to let Stephenson know that they are interested.

      So be it. Obviously there’s a lot of programs….other than rock chaulk…….that would be happy to have the guy play. And it’s not seemingly against the rules to float an idea in the newspaper. But to think that they have been whole heartedly in the active hunt for this guy is a stretch. At this point, I just hope that Lance finds a good match for himself.

      I’ve always believed that was College Park. Gary Williams has long expressed his interest in Stephenson. It would place him relatively close to home but not in NYC, gives him lots of exposure, especially playing in the ACC which, no disrespect to the Big East, is consistantly the best basketball conference top to bottom.

      College Park offers excellent facillities, a hall of fame coach, students that would appreciate his talent and, if he decides he wants more than basketball, an excellent education.

      According to Matt Bracken of the Baltimore Sun, Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News doubts Lance will end of in Tucson, “It’s unlikely Arizona will add guard Lance Stephenson, the New York prep star who lists the Wildcats among his finalists. Stephenson is a talent, but [Sean] Miller will concentrate on landing players who have a serious future with the program.”

      Similarly, Bruce Pascoe, of The Arisonza Daily Star, states, “It will be interesting to see if this case gets settled out of court or dismissed before then, but if it goes the distance, that puts Sean Miller in a tough spot: Does he try to land Stephenson before the case is over, only to possibly have him later found guilty? Or does he keep waiting, since UA could add him in mid-summer without any real harm done except him missing the start of summer classes, which most freshman take.”

      (That being said, I’ll also state my personal opinion, as someone who has spent time in Tempe, Tucson, Jacksonville and College Park, that Tempe has beautiful young women that like to party, lie in the sun, and have surgery to enlarge their breasts. Tucson also has beautiful women but they are more cerebral and less interested in partying every night.

      UMd and UF women are remarkably similar, which is somewhere between Zona and ASU women. Might be a little warmer in the winter in Gainesville, but it’s no where near the beach. And about 20% of the school from Jersey and New York at Maryland. I think it is an east coast thing. After all, it’s not like Florida is the “true south” and Maryland isn’t either. So oddly, although there is about 850 miles between them, and it is a few degrees cooler in College Park (seasonal in the winter but similar in the summer, but no where as cold as a Kansas winter) the women are amazingly similar. Attractive, with a desire to put studying first but also have fun. Of course, that is a generalization. Of course this is a generalization. I find that State College, Chapel Hill and Austin women are similar to this too, but then, Texas is a whole ‘nother county, huh?)

      Anyway, sounds like he has it narrowed down to Maryland and Arizona, with Memphis, and perhaps Gainesville given an outside shot. But without Cal there, I can’t see Memphis. Less of a chance going pro there these days. It’s probably the most poverty stricken places in the country. And nothing I have heard says that Lance is interested in UF. Does he want to be a point guard?

      Depsite what Zag stated earlier…..I have to think that Maryland has hung around and is now leading the game. Long a Gary Williams strategy.

      • Oh yeah, thanks to everyone who is serving, or has ever served, in the U.S. armed forces.

        And pardon my typo’s. It is Memorial Day after all. And I have things on the bar-b-que. 🙂

        Peace be with everyone on this holiday weekend.