I’ve been following the recruitment of Lance Stephenson for the better part of two years and I’m still a little shocked and awed that it’s come to a conclusion. Cincinnati was never in the mix throughout Lance’s recruitment, but became involved in recent weeks, when assistant coach Tony Stubblefield took the lead.
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin also has ties to Lincoln High School, having recruited former Lincoln star Sebastian Telfair when Cronin was an assistant at Louisville.
Here now is a timeline of the many twists and turns in the Stephenson recruitment over the past couple of years:
July 10, 2009 - Stephenson pleads guilty to disorderly conduct in the groping charge of a 17-year-old Lincoln High student. Agrees to three days of community service and to seek counseling.
June 30, 2009 - SNY.tv breaks the news that Lance will commit to Cincinnati; UC issues a press release confirming the commitment Tuesday evening.
June 29 - The sexual assault case involving Lance and teammate Darwin “Buddha” Ellis is adjourned for a second time until July 15.
June 28 – ZAGSBLOG.com quotes a Big East coach as saying that Lance is on the verge of signing with Cincinnati and that it will happen Tuesday.
June 26-28 – Lance and his family take an official visit to Cincinnati. It’s his fourth official, following trips to Kansas, Maryland and St. John’s.
June 5 – Lance says during an event in Greenburgh, N.Y. that his final four schools are Arizona, Florida, Maryland and Memphis.
May 19 - Lance’s sexual assault case adjourned for first time until June 29
May 17 - Lance scores a game-high 25 points to lead the New York Panthers to a 76-65 victory over the Playaz Sophomores in the title game of the 2009 Is8/Nike Spring High School Classic in Queens, N.Y.
May 7 – St. John’s source tells ZAGSBLOG.com they are out of the Lance Sweepstakes.
April 26- Source tells ZAGSBLOG.com that Arizona is interested in Lance.
April 23 – Xavier Henry announces for Kansas.
April 10 - Kansas Coach Bill Self flies up to meet with Lance; Stephenson later takes his official visit to St. John’s.
March 31 – On eve of McDonald’s All-American Game, Lance tells SNY’s Brooklyn Sal he’s holding off on his decision. He had been expected to announce for Kansas, but says his final three are “St. John’s, Maryland and Kansas.”
March 28 – Maryland coach Gary Williams watches Lance and Maryland commit James Padgett play their final high school game, a 77-50 loss to Rice in a Class AA boys semifinal in Glens Falls, N.Y.
March 22 - ZAGSBLOG.com breaks the news that Stephenson is about to commit to Kansas.
March 21 - Lance and the Lincoln Railsplitters win their fourth straight PSAL title at MSG. No announcement is made after the game.
March 20 – McDonald’s officials say Lance will announce March 31.
March 18 - Lance tells New York media he has decided on his college choice, believed to be Kansas.
March 1 – Washington Post runs story saying Lance’s visit to Maryland and Under Armour facilities may trigger NCAA investigation.
Feb. 24 – Lance gives SNY exclusive interview, saying recruiting process is “hard.”
Feb. 20-21 – On official visit to Kansas, Lance watches Jayhawks beat Nebraska 70-53 and hears chants of “Rock Chalk Stephenson.”
“I can see myself fitting in their program,” Stephenson, who recently became New York State’s all-time leading scorer, tells me. “They play as a team and they’re just willing to win, so I’m just going to see what they’re about and see how can I fit into the program.”
Feb. 15 – With 24 points against Thomas Jefferson, Lance becomes all-time leading scorer in New York State history, surpassing Sebastian Telfair.
Feb. 10 – Maryland coach Gary Williams watches Lance drop 50 points on FDR in Brooklyn Borough Championships.
Jan. 31- On official visit to Maryland, Lance takes infamous Under Armour tour and watches Terps beat Miami.
Jan. 15 - After watching St. John’s lose to UConn at MSG, Lance says he wants to bring St. John’s back.
Dec. 11, 2008 - Kansas Coach Bill Self watches courtside with a Diet Coke as Lance drops 32 points in an ESPN loss to Duncanville, Texas.
“He’s got the God-given body, and he’s blessed with quickness to go with it,” Duncanville coach Phil McNeely tells the Dallas Morning News prior to the game. “That’s a deadly combination.”
Oct. 3 - Lance and teammate Darwin “Buddha” Ellis are alleged to have groped a 17-year-old girl outside Lincoln High.
“He did absolutely nothing wrong,” Alberto Ebanks, Stephenson’s lawyer, tells The Daily News. “He categorically denies these allegations.”
Oct. 1 - Lance’s AAU coachs says he will visit Kansas and Memphis.
Sept. 25 – Lance visits St. John’s unofficially.
July 8 – Davidson coach Bob McKIllop cuts Lance from USA U-18 National Team.
“Usually someone that has been given that amount of attention he has had, they don’t have that sense of accountability in terms of competitiveness, and he really competes. He gets discouraged when a play doesn’t go the right way, either by himself or by a teammate. And he needs to transcend the play and go on to the next play,” McKillop says.
June 27 - At Steve Nash Camp, Lance says he would consider joining the Army or playing in Europe.
June 14- Lance Sr. says his son has a Final Four of Kansas, USC, UCLA and St. John’s.
March 31- Lance and Lincoln win back-to-back New York State Federation titles with win over Holy Cross.
“We decided to film Lance because he is the most talented and dynamic high school basketball player in the country,” said Justin Leonard, co-founder of Born & Bread. “He’s on pace to becoming the most decorated high school basketball player in the history of NYC. Even non-basketball fans will be compelled by the journey of a tight-knit family trying to make their dreams come true.”
January 11 – Stephenson suspended five days from Lincoln for fighting with teammate Devon McMillan.
“I’m real upset,” Stephenson tells The New York Post at Lincoln Thursday during the Railsplitters’ 76-52 win over Jefferson. “It happens, and I have to learn from this. College coaches think I’m a hothead over this. It’s real disappointing.”
Oct. 17, 2007 - Lance Sr. says he’s looked into Kansas, Indiana and USC, among others, for his son.