Perceptions that are not necessary true can hurt people in the world of work as well as in sports. Thus the case of Lance Stephenson. It seems people are getting great enjoyment out of laughing at how his recruitment has developed. It seems many people are no longer interested in "Born Ready" for various reasons.
The strange thing about this is Lance could really help most of the programs that are mentioned. I laugh when I see people applaud Gary Williams for no longer recruiting Lance Stephenson. I laugh because anyone who has followed Gary's successful career knows he would recruit Bin Ladens first born if he could help Maryland win games. He would take kids straight from Rahway or Green Heaven State penitentiary's if they could ball. And though everyone deserves an opportunity, do not get it twisted about why Gary Williams is no longer recruiting Lance. He has that position filled. Gary would take a great HS player if he came with the cast of entourage lol.
How about all the other programs that recruited Lance? Not one single program stopped recruiting Lance because of behavior concerns or concerns about his family involvement. They stopped based on their needs being met by other recruits. That includes Kansas!
Now lets revisit the Recruitment of Lance Stephenson. The perception about most inner city kids with game and reputation is always going to impact what people think. I laugh when I read how fans from certain colleges who could not get a Lance Stephenson quality player, even if they had his Dad on staff and his Mom working in the admissions office, say how he should not be recruited. Yet if Lance announced today he was attending one of those schools they would have a record number of readers and posters on their team site welcoming him with open arms. Yes it is easy to say do not take a kid you could not get even if you wanted him lol.
Lets look at Lance through my eyes. Here is my honest assessment of him from the first time I saw him as an 8th grader. Lance showed great potential and maturity at a very young age. He was stronger and better than everyone he played against. He was so good he played with guys 4 years older and still stood out. As he got older he became better and better and even more stronger as a guard. As a player he might go down as one of the top 5 to ever play HS ball in NYC. Heck he could be top 2-3 because no one was better than Lew Alcinda as a HS player. As a senior in HS, he seemed a bit more sloppy with the ball in my opinion. But he was still a great player. Just looked bored and was trying to do too much. But he was still the best in NYC or NJ. As a player he will be even better in college where he will have to be more focused. What college? I will talk about this in a minute.
Lets look at dear old Dad. Why is it a problem for people when a Dad who PLAYED basketball and wants the best for his son gets involved in his sons recruitment? No one says a thing about stage moms, tennis moms, parents pushing piano lessons, etc. I always say the best accepted parents by coaches are those who never played the game. Look in the stands at any game and the ideal parents just sitting there are usually the parents who were not athletic or at least never played basketball. A Dad who grew up playing Soccer and never played or watched basketball will never question anything because he rarely understands the game of basketball. Do I feel Lance Stephenson's folks enjoyed all the attention? YES! Have they handled the recruitment well? Not sure! Have they been great parents to Lance? YESSSSSSS! Let me say it again. YESSSSSS! Lance Stephenson's Dad and Mom have the best interest of their Son at heart. They feel his pain, and enjoy his pleasure. I honestly feel they are attacked based on false perception. As the all time champion of acting like a fool at my son's games, I can only imagine how much they were into Lance considering his potential and outstanding skills. They like me with my son, love their son and wants the best for him.
Lets look again at this attitude issue. I have never seen what others have. And remember I have watched Lance in person over 40 times! Does he play with a swagger? Yes! But I have never, ever, seen what folks often describe. I see a kid who competes all the time. A kid that wants to play. I see a passionate kid who pushes his teammates on the HS level just as Kobe pushed his teammates in the NBA championship series. I guess Kobe showed a bad attitude when he was screaming at Andrew Bynum in an effort to motivate him?
When it comes to Colleges, trust me when I tell you that 95% of the colleges in America including D1, D2, D3, and even D4 and D5 if there was such colleges, would have taken Lance Stephenson when they had scholarships available. Now that the scholarships are not available they tend to stick their chests out and act as if they did not want Lance. That is so funny and I hope Lance has a list he can refer to next season in case they are on his schedule. Again I laugh at the Maryland reference knowing how they recruit after they recruited a student athlete that stayed with me for 2 years.
Where should Lance go to college is the big question? But before giving my thoughts on this I need to say Seton Hall, and Rutgers, and even Syracuse, need to work their butts off to get involved with this young man. Right about now he and his family need that right coach to approach them with a scholarship offer and a development plan that will lead Lance to the NBA. And if he attends, others will follow in the next few years. Personally If I coached at one of the mentioned colleges I would be at Coney Island on the Cyclone everyday for the next few weeks hoping to bump into him. I might be dizzy from the ride, but I would get my points across.
His future team? I have said it once and I will say it again. Lance would do great in the NY tri-state area. I think St. Johns would have been a great place for him to star, and help bring back to life. It would have been his team from day 1. Now if that does not work, imagine him signing with Seton Hall or Rutgers? WOW!
My Last Post
Had an interesting email from a guy from Greenburgh NY who loves reading my blog but hates what I write, especially about AAU, HS, etc. I want everyone to understand I enjoy your comments and encourage you to disagree with me if it is how you feel. I just ask that you read well before doing so because we might just be saying the same things or you might just realize I am not saying ALL, just some.