Lance Stephenson Takes his Game to the Big East

Posted on 03. Jul, 2009 by Nolan Shulman in High School, NCAA

After riding the recruiting roller-coaster that looked like it had no finish line the last two years, Lance Stephenson has finally made his decision as to where he will be attending college in the fall. It won’t be Arizona, nor Maryland. It won’t be for Isaiah Thomas in Florida or for his hometown Johnies. The man proclaimed as “Born Ready” will be attending the University of Cincinnati. Really? Is that the same Cincinnati that showed Bob Huggins the door to clean up the program? Nancy Zimpher, former school president must be in disbelief this morning. After stressing “character over winning” throughout her tenure, it didn’t take long for Cincinnati to abandon the philosophy.

Bringing in Lance is a huge P.R. risk, but also a huge basketball opportunity. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last three years, you’ve heard of the Coney Island prodigy. He’s as physical a guard as you’ll find coming into college basketball. He’s a tough, hard nosed kid with a nose for the basket. He attacks the rim with reckless abandonment and finishes with ferocious power. From a basketball standpoint, the kid is a can’t miss prospect and the nickname “born ready” certainly fits with how he projects as a Big East player next season. With Deonta Vaughn scoring in bulk from the backcourt, and Yancy Gates grinding it out underneath, the Bearcats are seemingly right in the hunt for a Big East title. That is if Lance ever wears the uniform !!!

Along with Lance’s physically imposing collegiate ready game, he carries more baggage than a 747. A pending sexual assault case, an NCAA investigation to determine if he’s even eligible all hang in the balance. It’s a risk/reward situation which could lead to either a Big East Championship or public relations catastrophe. Lance is expected to declare for the NBA draft next season, which means Mike Cronin is putting his job on the line for one year of “Born Ready”. I hope the NCAA let’s Lance prove it’s more than just a nickname.

Nolan Shulman
nolan@flagrantfouls.com

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