The Post reported today that McDonald’s All-American Lance Stephenson has delayed his decision regarding which school he wants to play for. Stephenson is Maryland’s top prospect, and his decision is to choose between Maryland, Kansas, and St. John’s. According to the article, the late recruiting period runs through May 20th, so we may not know Stephenson’s choice for weeks.
I have a few thoughts on Stephenson. First, the kid has crazy talent but is apparently quite immature. I have already said that I’m concerned that he might not be a good personality fit for Gary Williams. He also might not be a good personality fit for College Park. I’ve seen a few brutal bar fights on Rte. 1 in my time.
Second, the article stated that he’s leaning toward Kansas, but Williams came to visit him and his teammate at Lincoln High James Padgett, who will be a forward at Maryland next year. One has to interpret this as a sign that he initially wanted to go to Kansas because it has a bit more direct NBA exposure, but the Williams visit combined with oncourt events for the Terps from the last few weeks might be swaying him toward going to Maryland.
Third, despite the fact that many Terps fans think Greivis Vasquez will go unpicked in the NBA draft, I believe there is a good chance he will go. Vasquez had a strong showing in the postseason, and a few NBA players have touted his skills after playing against him in international competition. Shawn Siegel at CollegeHoops.net has Greivis as a late second rounder. If Vasquez is drafted, he’s got to go. His family lives in Venezuela and they need the money.
I can imagine that Williams is feeling the heat to get Stephenson, because there will be a big hole in the lineup if Vasquez actually does leave. What do you think he said to Lance on that trip up to NY? “Lance, come on baby, you know you’re my guy. Even if Greivis stays I’ll give you all of Mosely and Hayes’s minutes. Just come to Garyland. Come to Garyalnd.” The conversation probably went something like that.
The signs point toward Maryland getting Stephenson. That should end the recruiting criticism of Gary once and for all. The funny thing is, signing a letter of intent should be the easy part for Stephenson. The hard part is winning. Even if he is in a Terrapins uniform, Stephenson will have a lot of work to do to show he can be a winner.