blue chip watch: stephenson on the fence

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.


8 Responses to “blue chip watch: stephenson on the fence”

  1. April 1, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I think if Vasquez declares for the draft, he’s gone, regardless of where he ultimately is or isn’t picked. That is the point of no return.

  2. April 1, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I’m not sure about that. It seems like he left things amicably with Williams and the team. If Vasquez goes undrafted I think he’ll be back.

  3. April 1, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I meant that the actual rules of the draft will render him ineligible. If you do not withdraw your name 10 days before the draft — ie, you actually go through the draft — you cannot return to college, whether you were actually drafted or not. He would have to withdraw his name before the final declaration date (10 days before, or a week before, or whatever it is) if he wanted to return to college.

  4. April 1, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Ah, I see. I thought that he could “test the waters” and if he went undrafted he would still be eligible to retun, but I guess not. Well, the NBA draft is in June, and Stephenson has to make a decision before then. If he’s coming to Maryland I would imagine that Vasquez will commit to the draft.

  5. April 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Now I’m confused. I was curious, so I tried to check the NCAA site to see what the eligibility rules are. This is from their recent meeting in January:

    The current rule permits a student-athlete to remain eligible by declaring his intention to return to college within 30 days after the NBA draft. The proposal would change that deadline to the day before the spring National Letter of Intent signing period begins – and well before the draft, which occurs in the summer.

    The proposal potentially would reduce the academic impact on student-athletes while still allowing a period to “test the waters.” The change would also help coaches with planning and recruiting for the next season.

    Did the NCAA make this change?

  6. April 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I’m a little confused, too, but I am almost certain that you have to withdraw from the draft before it happens or else risk losing your eligibility. Otherwise, everyone would just declare for the draft, see how the draft went, and then return to school if the draft didn’t pan out the way they wanted it to. The way it is now, you can definitely “test the waters” through workouts and scrimmages and this and that, but that is just to get a feel for what the NBA scouts think of you…at some point, you have to decide whether to stay in the pool or try again next year.

  7. April 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    That unfortunate scenario did play out once according to The Onion. Luckily, the NBA was ready for it.
    Every NCAA Basketball Player Declares Eligibility For NBA Draft
    NEW YORK—All 30,000 current NCAA men’s basketball players, from those who play for Division I powerhouses such as Duke to such lesser-known basketball programs as that of Allegheny County Community College, announced Monday that they were declaring their eligibility for the June 28 NBA Draft. “I figured, well, why not?” said Joshua Ward, a 5’10” sophomore from Eastern Wyoming College. “It can’t hurt. Even if I don’t get picked, I’ve never been to New York City, let alone [2007 draft site] Madison Square Garden.” NBA Commissioner David Stern remarked Tuesday that he wasn’t aware this many kids wanted to become professional basketball players, and as a result was considering creating 3,000 expansion teams for the 2007-08 season.

  8. April 1, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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