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Lance Stephenson (born September 5, 1990 in Brooklynmarker, New York Citymarker) is an Americanmarker college basketball player. He is a shooting guard and attended Lincoln High Schoolmarker in the Coney Islandmarker section of Brooklyn.Corcoran, Tully. "KU attracts Brooklyn star", The Topeka Capital-Journal, October 26, 2007. Accessed September 17, 2009. "Lincoln High School in Brooklynmarker, N.Y., is to high school basketball what Odessamarker Permian High Schoolmarker, in Texas, is to high school football. Basketball rules there. Stephon Marbury starred there. Marv Albert went there. Even Jesus Shuttlesworth, the fictional baller played by Ray Allen in He'ssic Got Game went there. Kansas coach Bill Self may be spending a bit of time there in the next year, too. Lance Stephenson, a 6-5, 195-pound junior guard from Lincoln who is the No. 4 overall player in the class of 2009 recently contacted Self about his interest in Kansas." Stephenson won city basketball championships in all four years of high school, is New York Statemarker's all-time leading scorer in high school basketball, and was named to the McDonald's All-American Team in 2009.

High school career

Stephenson first caught the attention of scouts at age 12, when Clark Francis, a talent evaluator, saw him play at Rumble in the Bronx AAU tournament. And before his first year of high school, he attended the Adidas ABCD Camp, where he challenged O.J. Mayo to a one-on-one game.

In the summer of 2005, Stephenson enrolled at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High Schoolmarker, an all-boys Catholic school. But he only attended the school for three days, before the school lost in the championship game of a youth league and he did not win the tournament MVP. The following week, Stephenson did not return to classes at Bishop Loughlin, and was attending Abraham Lincoln High Schoolmarker near his home in Coney Islandmarker. National Basketball Association players Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair had also attended and played basketball at Lincoln High. Head coach Dwanye Morton said, "{Stephenson} always talked about outdoing Sebastian, outdoing Stephon,", and called him "The best I've ever had at Lincoln." Stephenson went on to lead the Railsplitters to the city title that year.

Lincoln High repeated as champions his sophomore and junior years, while Stephenson won back-to-back Player of the Year honors from the New York Daily News.

In July 2008, Stephenson tried out for the United States national team's under-18 team, but was cut because of chemistry reasons.

On February 15, 2009, Stephenson passed fellow Lincoln High School alumnus Telfair's previous record of 2,785 points in the Brooklyn borough title game to become the all-time leading scorer for high school basketball in New York Statemarker. In March 2009, Stephenson led Lincoln High to an unprecedented fourth consecutive Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) class AA championship. Stephenson scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to in the 78-56 final win against John F. Kennedy, and helped Lincoln become the first school in city history to win four straight titles.

Stephenson's high school career ended in the New York State semifinal, where Rice High Schoolmarker beat Lincoln 77-50, and Stephenson was held to 12 points by Rice's Durand Scott, who also beat out Stephenson for the Daily News' New York City player of the year honor. He ended his career with 2,946 points.

In April 2009, Stephenson played in the McDonald's All-American Game, finishing with 12 points, six assists and three steals.

Off the court

As a sophomore, he was the youngest player featured in the movie Gunnin' for That No. 1 Spot, which followed eight high school basketball prospects. In 2008 as a high school junior he was named to the annual USA Today's All-USA boys basketball team, the only non-senior to given that honor.

Stephenson received his "Born Ready" nickname from Bobbito Garcia, a courtside announcer at Rucker Parkmarker, in the summer of 2006 during a game against older players. Stephenson had just played in a youth all-star game as the only rising sophomore out of the 24 top high school players in the nation, and the adult game that followed was a player short. Garcia said, "I'd seen him go up against seasoned NBA veterans, seasoned college cats, high school kids two or three years older than him, and he was always reppin', so I just called it. He's Born Ready." Stephenson tattooed the nickname on his right biceps, and also allowed a video crew to document his life for an online reality show titled "Born Ready".

In January 2008, Stephenson was suspended from school for five days and missed two games following an altercation with a teammate. In October that year, he was arrested for groping a 17-year-old inside the school. He faced a Class B misdemeanor sexual assault charge, and his parents ended the "Born Ready" reality show following the arrest.

Recruiting

As of May 20, 2009, the last day of NCAA's late signing period for basketball players, Stephenson had not declared or signed a letter of intent with the college he would attend that fall. In early 2009, Stephenson chose Kansas, St. John's and Maryland as his finalists, but he canceled two announcements, and his father said that he had narrowed his choice to Maryland and Arizona.

His official visit to Maryland in February came under scrutiny after he was given a tour of the Under Armour headquarters during his visit. This may have constituted a recruiting violation, as Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is a Marylandmarker graduate and on the university's board of trustees, and by NCAA rules, "representative of the institution's athletics interests" or a booster.

Stephenson initially told reporters he would announce which college he would be attending following the PSAL title game in March, but delayed the announcement until the McDonald's All-American Game on April 1, saying, "I already know where I'm going. This is not the right place [to make an announcement]." On March 31, Stephenson, who had been expected to commit to Kansas during the All-American game's media event, instead announced that he would delay the announcement again.

In April 2009, another top recruit Xavier Henry, who had been released from his commitment to Memphis after coach John Calipari left to take the Kentucky job, announced he would play for Kansas. Because Henry's commitment put Kansas at the 13-scholarship limit under NCAA rules, it ruled out a scholarship offer for Stephenson.

On May 20, the last day of the late signing period, Stephenson had not signed a letter of intent, but his father Lance Sr. told USA Today that he would not make a decision until his sexual assault case from October was resolved. The day before, a judge had adjourned his case until June 29.

On June 30, Andy Katz of ESPN.com reported that Stephenson signed a financial aid agreement with the University of Cincinnati and, if eligible, would join the Bearcats for the 2009-10 season.Stephenson is still waiting for approval from the NCAA to begin practice with the team on Friday October 23,2009.

References

  1. gunninmovie.com
  2. USA Today's All-USA team
  3. |url=http://sports.espn.go.com/highschool/rise/basketball/boys/news/story?id=4298304 |title=Hoopster Stephenson headed to Cincy |first=Andy |last=Katz |authorlink=Andy Katz |date=June 30 2009 |publisher=ESPN.com |work=Rise}}


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