Back in Dime #42 (June/July 2008) we declared Lance Stephenson was “Born Ready” saying on the cover that “This 17-year-old would be an NBA star right now.” Well, some things changed. Around swirly accusations surrounding his recruitment, weight/fitness problems and the rumors that he’d become uncoachable, Lance quickly fell from No. 1 prospect en route to the League, to a guy who could never make it out of NYC. Today, after a solid season at Cincinnati where he averaged 12.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, Stephenson declared for the NBA Draft. Ready or not, here he comes.
“I have decided to withdraw from the University of Cincinnati and enter my name into this year’s NBA draft,” Stephenson said. “After carefully reviewing my options, it is now clear to me that the need to emotionally and financially support my family, especially my young daughter, along with my long-standing and burning passion to play in the NBA, outweighs my desire to return to the University of Cincinnati.
“I want to thank the administration, the athletic department and the entire coaching staff, especially Mick Cronin and Tony Stubblefield at the University of Cincinnati, for their support and guidance over the course of this past year. It was and always will be a privilege to be a Bearcat.”
While most NBA Draft services didn’t have Stephenson pegged to leave this year, it appears the NBA’s unclear future is forcing everybody to try their hand at the League. Who knows where he’ll be taken. NBADraft.net has Lance as the 31st pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, while DraftExpress has him as the 39th pick. Will he get drafted this year? That depends on a lot of things.
First, Stephenson needs to make sure he surrounds himself with the right people. One reason why the first four-time NYC champion committed to Cincinnati a year ago was because schools like St. John’s, Maryland, Memphis, Arizona and even Florida were worried about the baggage he would bring with him.
Second, Stephenson is going to have to impress NBA personnel that he has an improved work ethic. There are tons of guys with talent that never make it to the League. But it’s what you do with that talent (see Ben Wallace) that determines how long you stay there.
What do you think? Should Lance delcare? Should he stay in school?
Other Must-Read NBA Draft Stories:
– With 5 Players From Kentucky Going Pro, John Calipari Needs Recruits
– Let The Declarations Begin: NCAA Underclassmen Look Towards The NBA Draft
– Big East’s Secret Weapon Declares For NBA Draft
– Paul George Declares For NBA Draft On Twitter
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