Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 at 9:08 am  |  83 responses

Breaking: Lance Stephenson to NBA

by Ben Osborne

Having not spoken to the Stephenson family since Cincy played at St. John’s in January, I was startled to hear from Lance and his father this morning. I was not startled by wrote they wrote, however. In short, Lance is going to the NBA. They call him Born Ready, and now will be his chance to prove it. Good luck, Lance.

Here’s the complete text I received at 8:05 AM:

“What’s up Ben ? I have decided to withdraw from the University of Cincinnati and enter my name into this year’s NBA draft. 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-standingand 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 overthe course of this past year.  It was and always will be a privilege to be a Bearcat.”

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  • larrylegend

    translation: never thought how long a year of college bball could be…

  • ronak


  • http://Slamonline.com Mvp23100

    Stay in college lance you need it his game is not developed enough

  • Ken

    I feel like it’s too early for him, but hopefully he proves me wrong.

  • http://Slamonline.com Mvp23100

    And i understand The financial aspect but why have a 3 year career when you can have a 10 year career if polished and devoloped

  • arthur

    This is a gamble isn’t it? I thought Stephenson was projected to go undrafted this year.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    “And I’d like to apologize in advance for the NCAA investigation into my time here that will, with out a doubt, take place immediately.” Lance did not necessarily add. Can’t wait to see what he can do in the L.

  • JR

    Why is this a big deal?

  • http://www.hoopsmanifesto.com Jeff Fox

    Not a shock but also not the wisest move. He’s a second round prospect, meaning no guaranteed money or roster spot. He better get his passport in order for Europe!

  • http://myspace.com/heislegend Bryan

    I really think he will fare better in the NBA.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Even if he goes in the 2nd round, he will more then likely end up with 1st round money, or better. Kids gotta lotta upside, its hard to pass that up. James White for example has a ring.

  • ryandeahn

    Does anyone in NY learn from Omar Cook or Lenny Cooke? Stay one more year Lance.

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  • Hussman25

    PLEASE reconsider going back to school…. your Bearcats have a chance to do some work in the Big East this comming season; your game is nice, but still a work in progress… The ball wont be in your hands as much in the League and thus some of your flaws may be exposed… Your first round talent kid. I know you have to support your family and child, but wouldnt growing as a person and a player, working on your game and maximizing your talent be better off for future earnings??? I would definately go and take a photo for a passport overseas… ur game deserves better than 2nd round money youngin…


  • Kevin

    Definitely not NBA worthy yet.

  • http://SLAMonline.com GotHandles?

    could use another year but I think he’ll surprise people. the NBA is a 1 on 1 game and lance has the build and speed to get buckets.

  • T-Money

    I can’t knock him for thinking family first and actually taking care of his kid (which is, sadly, not a given amongst young athletes). Go get that money and take care of your family, Lance. Nothing is ever guaranteed and injuries BEFORE turning pro can be devastating(e.g., Ronnie Fields and Lenny Cooke)

  • Spencer Tinman

    Lance, what are you doing man? you needed at least another year in college my dude. you have the potential to be great but you aren’t ready for the nba yet. i hope it works out for you but i disagree with the decision.

  • T-Money

    The only thing that worries me about Lance in the pros is his lack of vert. His first step is pretty good but he will not be able to elevate in the lane against the trees. A FG% in the low 40s would not surprise me in his rookie year. I like his handles and his court vision though.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com TADOne

    Second round pick.

  • http://www.euroleagueadventures.com Nick Gibson

    “This message exceeds the maximum limit of 140 characters and will be sent as 12 separate messages. Do you wish to continue?”

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Yeah son this guy is going to be a bust in the NBA. I don’t see him doing much of anything in the NBA but jacking a bunch of shots all the damn time.

  • Coney Islander

    I would rather blow my knee out with a million dollar contract in my pocket than blow my knee out for free in another year of college but on the same token he didn’t have a early draft pick season. Best of luck…he’ll need it.

  • http://CourtCred.com Coop

    He is not ready but the draft is weak this year and its not too many wings that are a lot better than him. Outside of Evan Turner, DeShaun Butler, and Al-Farooq Aminu. Who else is there? Stephenson needs to really work on his jumper and decision making. I wish him the best though.

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  • Taisen

    boy will fade into obscurity or hurt himself while running laps..

  • max

    I think what really threatens these college players is the possibility of a Lockout in 2011. If Lance has financial issues right now, it is maybe wiser to take the risk this year and be late first-rounder and take at least some money than to wait a year.If it would only be a decision about basketball,staying in Cincinnati is the best he can do.

  • J. CARR

    Lance just look at Bassy at best he is a third string point guard on an NBA team, had he went to college for all four years i believe he would be polished and a starter on some NBA roster. You have all the tools to be a lottery pick, stay at least another year put Cincinnati on the map and do your thing. Don’t settle for second round money, or going to Europe for a measly six figure contract. You and your family deserve that lottery money. Whats one more year, had you not been a ball player what would they have done to make ends meet.

  • The Philosopher

    Even if he lands overseas, he can make some good money. When you need money, you need money. I can’t blame this kid. His position could have been a lot worse than what it is at this moment.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    its not like staying in school is going to guarantee anything. an extra year is just as likely to help stephensons draft stock as it is to injure him and ruin all hopes of decent NBA money out of college.

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    Does everyone really think he’s a second round pick? I say late first round.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    I could see this going either way, but I respect the decision.

    Look forward to seeing Lance in the L.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Did my comments not post?

    I said, if Lance drops to 2nd round, Raptors better not pass up on him. And if this is my 5 post… soo sorry for the spam. lol

  • riggs

    he’s late first round, and just as much as people want to say its a gamble going to the NBA now, its as much a gamble going back to college for one more year. He can play horribly, get injured or worse.

  • Coney Islander

    If he is a late round pick he’ll end up being molded by the coaching staff of a contending team. Best case, they’ll mold him into a defensive stopper while he works on his offensive game.

  • Mr. Robinson

    Late first round pick? He’ll be lucky. Dude isn’t that good, but, I’ve seen a lot of cats get lucky.

  • http://myspace.com/heislegend Bryan

    He’s very skilled and still young. He should be a first round pick. Its so weird when people trash a 19 or 20 year old like they’re done getting better. His game doesn’t translate on the college level, not a lot of one on one isos and pick and rolls ran in college. His game has always been at better fit for the league and a smart GM will see that.

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  • Ngoie Kafita

    I see some Reke Havoc (Tyreke Evans) in him.
    Don’t think he will slip that far unless they don’t like his attitude.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    I see a lot of similarites between Lance and S-Jax’s situation. Both were dudes hyped out of high school, took a couple of bumps to the L, but Stephen ended up on a good team and was groomed into a great player. I can definitely see Lance taking a similar route.

  • lucas

    omg he has a kid ALREADY? wtf is he black?

  • dfrance21

    Yall do realize there are about 30 1st round picks right. Yall actually think there are gonna be 30 cats with more upside that Lance in the draft. Remember, the NBA draft is 90% of what you might do and 10% of what you’ve done.

  • Ngoie Kafita

    His game reminds me of Reke Havoc (Tyreke Evans), talent is there but attitude issues might drop him to the second round.

  • http://myspace.com/weezyleezy337 GametimeWeezy

    hope he sticks around in the league i can see him having a long career if he puts in enough work

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    keep your racism to yourself

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Right, lucas? You never see white people or any other races have children before they’re at least 25. Except I was flipping through the TV the other day and I found this show called 16 and Pregnant and every girl on their was WHITE! AND THEY WEREN’T MARRIED!!! Surely it was just one of those phony baloney TV shows, though. Not REALITY or anything.

  • mack

    I hope he enjoys the second round

  • renegade

    He needs to stay in school or be the next big thing out of Lincoln High to fail in the league.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    i bet all you Lincoln HS haters, and people that think they know whats best for the kid, are less successful then every one of these people. who cares if he goes to the league and fails or doesn’t even make it. he will be making ATLEAST 6 figures as a 20 year old kid….how many of you can say that? exactly

  • JD

    Outa all the guys who shouldn’t go 2 the league this one suprises me least

  • Sparty’s Law

    How has this gotten so many posts? Is this going to happen every time a player with late-first-round potential declares for the draft? We’re not exactly talking about John Wall here, folks.

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven Duece

    There’s not a lot of 2 guards that can keep him in check, so I see him doing some nice things in the L. Either way, nothing wrong with him providing for his family.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/madlib Michael NZ

    I’d rather take Gordon Hayward.

  • Reemo


    So money is the only thing that makes you successful? How about getting a college degree heaven forbid…for free

  • Rob

    People seem to think John Wall is the most awesome college player in the world (with good reason), but I don’t think he would have the same numbers as Lance if he had played for a team like the Bearcats.
    Needs are needs. I do think one more year of college would’ve been better for Lance as a player, but he’s feeling the necessity to help his family so I wish him luck.

  • dw24

    I’d take Hayward, Wes Johnson, Aminu, Turner, Xavier, James Anderson, Jacob Pullen, Crawford, and others before him. So yes there are 30 people better than him out there. Arrogant, streetballer, selfish, under developed, and lacking consistency. Will be another Lincoln Bust just like most NY players. Way too selfish and way too high on himself.

  • dw24

    And by the way I know for a fact Lance’s grammar is not that good as the above text shows. It was probably something like “Ay yo dog Umma balla son n Umma goin 2 da leegue so KoB3 can do meh.”

  • Mr. Robinson

    There is one cat on these comment sections that stick out in my mind when it comes to being a racist and a sexist. There are a few cats, but, one sticks out in particular.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I’m guessing late first round as well. He’s made a big enough name of himself that at least 1 team in the first round is going to make a gamble for him.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    name *for himself

  • therighttoremainsalient

    I’m still going to take Jon Scheyer with my pick! :)

  • Andrej

    i just hope he gets drafted , ive been really high on him but hes dissapointed this season

  • Royal

    I think Lance is more determined about getting his folks out of the projects than he is being NBA ready.I really can’t blame the man……..

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Dude can’t seem to keep anything under wraps…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    He will be good in the NBA because College wasn’t his kind of game but NBA is all about spacing and hes going to do great in those systems.

  • aceofspades22

    It’s unfortunate that Lance has to leave Cincy so early. Dude’s game is so unpolished, and he’s only feeding the reputation of NY players being busts. I long for the days when quality players actually emerged from our streets, not a bunch of streetballers with no real skill.

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  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    I will not pretend to be a NCAA expert. I just dont follow it.. But usually around this time theres a good 5-8 players that I become familar with.. Not this year. All I hear about is John Wall.. Weak draft?

  • big easy

    man i have very high hopes for Lance, but i really thought another year of college would do wonders for him. Good luck Born Ready, prove the doubters wrong

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Reemo: I agree with your values of education, really, I do. I think being educated is very important.
    But how many people do you know have graduated from college/university only to realize there no longer is a job market for them? A college degree isn’t always a ticket to big money.
    And lets be real, for a kid like Lance (and almost all basketball prospects in Div 1 NCAA schools), he’s been training and dedicating his entire life to basketball. Making the NBA is the most important priority for him, and the money that comes along with it–which is definitely a lot more than the money he’d make if he got a college degree. And frankly, I can’t blame him.
    I know money DEFINITELY isn’t everything, but basketball IS to a lot of these guys, and the money that comes along with it is incredibly high and just plain ridiculous to turn down. There’s no shame in doing whatever you love to do at a high level, even if it means skipping school education.

  • http://www.nba.com Dacre

    Hmm, I’m interested to see if he can get through training camp; certainly if he doesn’t make the top 20 picks… He could end up on the bench of a really strong team and not get a great deal of burn out there in 2011.

  • JoeMaMa

    Free education…like Stephenson cares. Or most others, for that matter. These guys were told at the age of 10, “you could make millions playing the game you love”…not, “you could get a degree in sociology”. The ballers are there to ball, and hopefully to get an NBA (or these days, even a Euro) contract once the opportunity comes along. The universities sell the players for money, and so does the NCAA. This is the reality. Besides, he’s got a pro game; he’ll make a roster, regardless of pick. The guy’s been through adversity and I’m positive he’ll battle through. Best of luck, Lance.

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  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Lance would get the education for free, even if he leaves after a single year. As if the college is going to MAKE him pay, when he’s brought so much publicity to the school ($ etc). Don’t be naive.

    The draft this year is pretty damn weak vs. previous years. I don’t see why Lance couldn’t be a 22-30 pick. If he performs well and dominates guys “projected” to be above him in Pre-Draft stuff.. he brings his name up as a solid 16-30 pick.
    If he performs poorly, he’s a good looking 2nd round pick a team might chance their arm on. Remember, Manu, Gil, Redd all went in the 2nd round. Gems in the rough.

    @Ben – did his text/email also include the poor spelling? “long-standingand”, “overthe” – I’m curious to know if it was you, or him?

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  • Daniel

    Well, if it doesn’t work out in the L, maybe he can break Marbury’s ankles during practice in Shanxi…

  • RealTalk

    Lance Stephenson won city basketball championships in all four years of high school, is New York State’s all-time leading scorer in high school basketball, and was named to the McDonald’s All-American Team in 2009.Also he already finish one year of college. He was the top player and highest scorer for Cincinnati this season.Cincinnati’s Lance Stephenson won the Big Est Preseason Rookie of the Year award and the regular season Rookie of the Year award, nudging out Rutgers’ Dane Miller. He averaged 12.0 points per game, best of any freshman.He also had about a 3.4 or 3.5 GPA.Good Job Lance and you made a good decicion to enter in the NBA Draft.

  • BostonBaller

    I wish him well, I didn’t see any of his games at Cincy..I forgot he was in college since we had been hearing about him for 10 years now. lol

  • Luis Depradine

    Honestly dont get me wrong lance is a good player he was the big east freshman of the year. But he wasnt consistent in some games. I honestly beleive if he stays another year or so he would get better and have better draft position and most likely more dollars..but good luck brother in the league

  • realistically

    people talk about sebastian ha…stop stating the obvious..he knew he wasnt going to be spectacular in the nba but life isnt about being a hall of famer in the nba its about surviving..he said it best “this aint no game this is a business”. lance is simply taking a gamble as in what everyone of us does in life

  • http://www.motherjones.com AndTheJellosJigglin

    He thinks he can emotionally support his family better during a 100 game NBA season? Just tell it how it is, you would rather make money in the NBA rather then spend money to play basketball in the NCAA…

  • http://www.motherjones.com AndTheJellosJigglin

    Actually, good point, theres no way he’s paying for his education right now. But they arent paying him either. If he really wanted to take care of his family he would stay in school and take care of his kid. In the NBA he will see his kid twice a month.

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