Oh boy. I didn't really want to get to know this guy. I was almost dead-set against it. But it is what the people want. And I can't disappoint my peeps. So, without further adieu, I present one of the most polarizing prospects in the P&T comment sections: Lance Stephenson, G, of Cincinnati. I want to apologize in advance for any extra saltiness that might be emanating from this post, because I just watched Joba and company blow a 5-1 lead, then got my hopes up as the Yanks made a faux-comeback, and I am a little more than upset right now. It's a good thing writing is therapeutic for me. Let's learn more after the jump.
Where do we start with Lance Stephenson? I guess his draft outlook up to this point. He is even a polarizing figure among the draft mockers. Draft Express has him falling into the last three picks of the draft, while NBADraft.net has him going number 25 overall. There is no real consensus on this guy.
The physical profile. Stephenson is quite a specimen of a human being, standing 6' 5" and weighing around 200-210 lbs. He has great length, with a wingspan of 6' 10", which is pretty good for a perimeter player. It is this type of size and length that has scouts drooling.
High School: The kid was a baller in high school. He led Lincoln High, home of former Knick Stephon Marbury, to four straight PSAL Class AA Titles. That is outlandish. He also averaged 29, 10, and 4 as a senior, earning Golden Arches All-America honors. He is New York state's all-time leading HS scorer, scoring 2,946 points. It was stuff like this that made him the most highly touted/sought after recruit in the country at one point. Then some shit got in the way. He was arrested for sexually assaulting a student inside Lincoln High School before his senior season. Inside the school. Top programs, like Kansas, started dropping out of his recruitment. He wasn't even selected for the U-18 National Team (read the quote from the coach, unreal.).
Stats: Enough about high school, let's get to his freshman stats. Very underwhelming. Lance averaged 12.3 points (astonishingly enough, this led the team), 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.4 TOs (1.04 A/T ratio), shot 44% from the field, 21.9% from three-point range (I wish I could increase font size, because that would be gigantic), 66.4% from the charity stripe, and a very low 1.14 points-per-shot. He topped the 20-point mark only thrice last year (and he scored 19 a few times, but that just isn't 20 now is it?).
His season highs were: 23 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists.
He made 16 three pointers all season, and still ended up shooting 73 during the year. He took more than 10 shots a game, and was highly inefficient with them. He only averaged 3.5 foul shots per game. Salt, anyone?
That being said, the man does have some cajones. I watched his Bearcats almost take down my Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Maui Invitational, and he was a big part of that game. He is a guy that wants the ball and isn't afraid to take shots down the stretch.
He said towards the end of this season that he was returning for his sophomore season. Then he entered the draft. PSYCHE!
Nicknames: On the streets of Brooklyn, Lance apparently earned the nickname "Born Ready." At Cincinnati, point guard Deonta Vaughn made a hilarious adjustment to that nickname. Clyde would have fun with both of those.
The "Born Ready" nickname turned into an Internet phenomenon in high school, which parlayed itself into an Internet reality series. No lie. They were touting this kid as the next LeBron. Everyone needs to check out the "Players" in this series. His dad's name was Stretch. It just gets better after that. The series was prematurely canceled due to the sexual harassment issues. There aren't even any of the videos left on the site. Damn you sexual harassment.
The guy has a nice handle, and it looks like he can get into the paint whenever he wants. He is smooth with his drives too, not really bullying his way into the lane (though he certainly has the size to bully).
Despite the above posterization, I am not really thrilled with Lance's athleticism. At some points it looks like he barely reaches the rim. Not prime athletic/leaping ability that you would expect from a 2 guard.
That shooting form looks all sorts of ugly. It's not quite Shawn Marion, but it's ugly.
He does look strong.
He looks like a very emotional player, but also sort of a showman. All of the crossovers and one-on-one looked more like crowd-pleasing street ball than college ball to me.
I think you all know where I stand on this kid. Bad write-ups from Draft Express, the Hoop Doctors, and all of the negative stories floating around the Internet just lead me to believe that this kid is a very very bad egg. He could have all the potential in the world (and it doesn't look like he has it to me) but that attitude is rotten. To go from one of the prized recruits in the country to an afterthought in a span of months just screams "STAY AWAY" to me. I answer the question "Do you select Lance Stephenson?" the same way I answer "Do you want drugs?" No. Because I paid attention to my DARE officer. Besides, we already have Bully Walker, and I don't want a punk like this taking up his playing time. Thoughts?