PDA

View Full Version : Lance returns to the place he dominated



90'sNBARocked
03-06-2011, 02:12 PM
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/high_school/2011/03/04/2011-03-04_former_lincoln_star_and_pacers_rookie_lance_ste phenson_may_be_able_to_cheer_on_r.html


Lance Stephenson leads Lincoln to the PSAL title at Madison Square Garden with a 78-56 win over Kennedy in March 2009.
The Brooklyn native joins the Indiana Pacers as a second-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Medina/Getty
The Brooklyn native joins the Indiana Pacers as a second-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

He led Lincoln High School to four straight PSAL basketball championships, and he's the all-time leading scorer in New York state high school basketball history.

And if the Railsplitters survive to play for their fifth citywide title in the last six years, a game scheduled for next Sunday at Madison Square Garden, Lance Stephenson may actually be right back there with them.

Stephenson, 20, now a rookie guard with the Indiana Pacers, could play on the Garden floor on the same day as his alma mater.

By luck of scheduling, the league's title game is set for a 1 p.m. tip-off next Sunday. That's five hours before Stephenson and the Pacers are scheduled to take to the court to face the Knicks.

"I didn't know about that," a surprised Stephenson told the Daily News on Friday from Dallas, where he was getting ready for his team's game against the Mavericks.

"Hopefully, they get there," Stephenson added. "That would be lovely. That would be great. Of course I'll be there and support."

The player and his former high school team both have had their ups and downs since his graduation in 2009.

Stephenson played one unremarkable season at the University of Cincinnati, entered the 2010 NBA draft and got tabbed by the Pacers in the second round (40th overall) last June.

He signed a $700,000 contract but spent most of his rookie campaign on the inactive list, sidelined behind several more experienced teammates and his self-acknowledged inability to master the nuances of NBA defense. At one point, Pacers president Larry Bird spoke about sending Stephenson down to the NBA Developmental League.

Stephenson also dealt with personal issues off the court. In August, he was arrested and slapped with felony assault and menacing charges after he allegedly pushed Jasmine Williams, the mother of his daughter, down a flight of stairs.

The case was dismissed last month, according to the Indianapolis Star, and the player who was nicknamed "Born Ready" as a high school freshman finally made his NBA debut on Feb. 27.

The Railsplitters, meanwhile, were rebuilding in 2009-10 as they struggled to replace Stephenson's star power. They lost to Wings Academy in the playoff quarterfinals and watched Brooklyn rival Boys & Girls win its first city title since 1979.

Coach Dwayne Morton has restored his team's dominant ways this season, amassing a 26-2 overall record behind senior point guard Shaquille Stokes, freshman sensation Isaiah Whitehead and junior forward Kamari Murphy.

Stokes is one of only two current Railsplitters (the other is senior forward Michael White) who teamed with Stephenson at the Coney Island high school.

"Shaquille's a great player, a great point guard," Stephenson said. "I think he could do it this year by himself."

Stephenson helped lead the Railsplitters to four straight PSAL championships on the Garden hardwood from 2006-09.

"I miss those days," Stephenson said. "It was fun there."

The Coney Island product earned his first NBA minutes in an overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns last Sunday, and hopes to steadily increase his role with the Pacers.

"It felt good," Stephenson said about playing in his first NBA regular season contest. "I just had to get in the groove. I want to come in with good defense. The speed (of the NBA) is different, the execution, the play is totally different."

He went 3-of-7 from the field for 11 points and six rebounds in the Pacers' road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

If Stephenson continues to find a groove, he could play a significant role when the Pacers visit the Knicks next Sunday. The first time the Pacers visited New York, on Jan. 2, Stephenson wore street clothes and watched his team's 98-92 loss from the sideline.

Lincoln coach Dwayne Morton declined to speak about the possibility about his former star playing in the Garden on the same day as the PSAL final.

Morton has spoken in the past about his frustrations in dealing with Stephenson two seasons ago as the team's performance sometimes took a back seat to the star's college recruitment, but the coach is also being cautious to avoid overlooking the teams that are hoping to knock them off before March 13.

Lincoln, the top seed in the boys "AA" playoffs, must play eighth-seeded Forest Hills in Sunday's quarterfinals at St. John's and, with a victory, either No. 4 Cardozo or No. 5 Jefferson in the semis on Wednesday at City College of New York.

But Stephenson's father Lance Sr., who was a staple in the crowd during his son's days at Lincoln from 2006-09, certainly hopes to see the Railsplitters there.

"I think it would be special for Lance," said Lance Stephenson Sr., who has since moved his family to Indiana to be closer to his son. "He wants to see his former team. He still reps Lincoln to the fullest. He'd be happy to see them. I know he'll be cheering him on."


Hmmm, 4 state titles in four years, so much for "Lance cant be a leader"

:bs:

imawhat
03-06-2011, 02:18 PM
The idea that he can't play PG successfully can't be debated if he played PG regularly in high school. I'm surprised it's ever been brought up.

At the same time, his coach declining comment and the following statement about frustrations are red flags. There's really no conflict of interest in commenting on a former player, so not commenting might say quite a bit.

90'sNBARocked
03-06-2011, 03:27 PM
yeah I saw that quote but I took it more as the college recruiters were the problem, not Lance

OakMoses
03-06-2011, 10:50 PM
Hmmm, 4 state titles in four years, so much for "Lance cant be a leader"

:bs:

Best player on the floor at all times does not equal leader.

Taterhead
03-07-2011, 04:52 AM
Best player on the floor at all times does not equal leader.

Really? Interesting. I would fallow him.

troyc11a
03-07-2011, 09:31 AM
The idea that he can't play PG successfully can't be debated if he played PG regularly in high school. I'm surprised it's ever been brought up.

At the same time, his coach declining comment and the following statement about frustrations are red flags. There's really no conflict of interest in commenting on a former player, so not commenting might say quite a bit.

As a former coach myself I would have been shocked and disappointed to hear another coach talk about playing in a state championship final while they still have a couple games to win in order to get there. This is just a coach being guarded and not wanting to get ahead of himself. I bet he would have been willing to talk about the next game and thats it.

kellogg
03-07-2011, 09:41 AM
Best player on the floor at all times does not equal leader.

Best player on the floor at 'all' times 'usually' equals leader.

BillS
03-07-2011, 10:34 AM
Best player on the floor at 'all' times 'usually' equals leader.

Really? Since when does basketball skill somehow automatically translate into leadership skill?

For instance, there were years where SJax and Ron Artest could arguably have been called the best player on the floor for their teams, but neither of them would ever be confused with a leader.

Taterhead
03-07-2011, 02:23 PM
Really? Since when does basketball skill somehow automatically translate into leadership skill?

For instance, there were years where SJax and Ron Artest could arguably have been called the best player on the floor for their teams, but neither of them would ever be confused with a leader.

Ron Artest and SJax weren't the best player on the floor "at all times" like he suggested.

If a player is good enough on a basketball floor to be dominant, you absolutely have to fallow his lead. JMO