Tag Archives: Lance Stephenson

Weekly Nickel 4-9-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Cody Zeller (pictured above) is projected as a sure-fire lottery pick. Yet, he is on the fence about whether he should stay in Bloomington or take his talents to the NBA. He has 20 days to make up his mind.

By Josh Kramer

Sunday was truly a “fun” day in the sporting world. Masters insanity.  Carmelo put on a Broadway-esque performance in the Big Apple.  And John Isner led the US Davis Cup team into the semifinals.  It was a wild Sunday to say the least.  Last week was fun.  But this week is poised to be every bit as entertaining.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Should I stay or should I go?  Many college basketball players across the country are pondering this question as they heavily weigh their options on if they should spend more time at the collegiate ranks, or try to take their talents to the professional level.  Every year there are guys that declare, that really have no business departing. Also though, there are always guys that could have left, that decide to stay for another year and continue to refine their skills 20 days remain for the non-seniors to make up their minds.  Remember, only 60 players will get drafted come June 28th. Continue reading

Throwback Saturday Part XII

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Bobby Valentine (pictured above) is the current Red Sox manager due to a horrible September collapse last year. Will he right the ship in Beantown?

By Josh Kramer

Three months and still going strong.  The “Throwback Saturday” experiment has gone better than expected.  For those of you who have no idea what “Throwback Saturday” is, here’s a quick synopsis.  It is a time to look back and reflect.  What was happening on April 7, 2011? How about April 7, 2010?  Let’s find out.

One year ago..

Panic Time in Beantown?

Here is a snippet..

There are currently only two teams in all of Major League Baseball that we can call “defeated.”  Otherwise known as, “winless.”  Surprisingly, both of these teams are perennial playoff teams that reside in what most, including myself, consider the best division in all of baseball.

Were we all too high on the mighty AL East?

Tampa Bay currently sits at 0 and 5.  While the team that Sports Illustrated and most baseball experts picked to win not only the American League, but the World Series, sports the worst record in baseball.  Yes, the Boston Red Sox, the team with the most potent and dangerous lineup in all of baseball sits at 0 and 6.

Is it time to press the panic button in Beantown?

How many games are in an MLB Season?  162 right?  Boston has completed a little less than 4 percent of their games and people act as if the world is ending.  SportsCenter is providing stories on why history is against the Red Sox.  Most internet sites are calling the Red Sox a fraud.  And if you forget what a fraud is, just ask Colin Cowherd what the term means.

Well I am not playing into it, yet.  Sure the BoSox supposedly unstoppable offense has only scored 16 runs on the year, which is tied for second worse in the American League.  Sure Boston’s supposedly, “very solid” pitching staff has given up the second most runs in all of baseball.  38 to be exact, which translates to a little over six runs a game.  Even in Little League, giving up six runs a game is not part of a winning formula.  But they have only played six games.  It is a six month marathon for a reason (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading

“Born Ready was Ready?”

Get used to seeing former Bearcat freshman star Lance Stephenson dawning a Pacer's jersey. The former UC star signed a multiyear contract with Indiana yesterday.

Former Lincoln High School and University of Cincinnati standout Lance Stephenson has been signed to a multiyear deal by the Indiana Pacers.  Reportedly the deal includes 2 guaranteed years in which he would make the league minimum of $473,604 and $762,195 in his second year.  Then he would have 2 years at a team option.  So basically Lance Stephenson has been guaranteed 2 years of his dream.  He will be playing in the NBA.  So for all the haters out there, big ups to Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson.

For all the naysayers out there, myself included, Lance apparently was ready.  Now I will admit that I said numerous times I thought Lance’s early departure from the University of Cincinnati was a horrific decision.  The kid had a solid year at UC and was Big East Freshman of the Year, but he did not put up numbers that proved he was NBA ready.  On the year, he averaged 12.3 points a game, to go with 5.4 rebounds a game, and 2.5 assists.  These are definitely not numbers to be ashamed of, especially when playing in the rugged Big East.  But do these sounds like 1 and done numbers?  No way!

Now I and most of Cincinnati have a bias.  We expected Lance Stephenson to come in and turn an already talented team into contenders.  We fully expected the Bearcats to be a top 20 team in the country last year.  UC was supposed to ride super senior guard Deonta Vaughn and the immensely talented freshman Lance Stephenson back into contention.  This did not happen.  Lance struggled with the learning curve and seemed to butt heads with Bearcat Coach Mick Cronin frequently.  So after Lance did not have the amazing season that we all expected and thought that we would have, we figured we had at least another year maybe 2 with the one the Rucker Park boys called “Born Ready.”  I and most of Cincinnati was wrong.

Lance fled for the money.  We said he was a fool.  We thought he was making a similar mistake to former Bearcat freshman standout Dontonio Winfield.  The guy (Stephenson) shot 21.9% from 3 point range and 66.4% from the free throw line.  He struggled at times to fit into the half court offense.  He appeared uncomfortable frequently on both the offensive and defensive ends.  He even had issues keeping possession of the rock seeming to struggle with his dribbling abilities.  And just did not have nearly the star status of a John Wall or Demarcus Cousins.  See what people do not realize is Lance did not think he was John Wall.  He just knew that he would get drafted.  Upon getting drafted he could prove his worth.  Well he did that and more in the NBA Summer League.  The kid shot 73 percent from the floor (tops in the League) and averaged 15 points a game.  He thoroughly impressed Larry “Legend” (Bird), the President of the Indiana Pacers, who was utterly shocked that a talent like Lance fell into their laps with the 40th pick in the draft.

See most people around the country did not get to see Lance play on a nightly basis like we did in Cincinnati.  They saw Lance when he was making guys fall down from his utterly disgusting crossover against Xavier.  They saw him playing under the bright lights at Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament.  People fail to realize that Lance down the stretch put on a show where in his final 9 games he averaged around 15.3 points and nearly 7 rebounds a game.  He was a rising star down the stretch.  We just saw the overall product during the course of the entire season and were not impressed.  Our perceptions got the best of us.

Now do I think Lance will be a star in the NBA?  I really have no idea.  Right now, he does not appear to have the makings of an instant star in this League.  But I will state, Lance has an NBA style game.  He loves to get up and down the court and finish.  He has a very aggressive mentality and loves the one on one style.  He also has great length (6 foot 5) for the point guard position.  And we all know that the NBA game is defined by length and size at every position.  Maybe the college game just did not suit his abilities and was another reason why he wanted to get out quick?  People say they have already noticed a big time improvement in both his ball handling abilities and his shot.  Hopefully he is just as ready from a mental standpoint as he seems to be physically for the very unforgiving NBA.

But I will say this.  Lance “the Dance” Stephenson, as I liked to call him, was declared “Born Ready” years before anyone in Cincinnati had ever seen him play or knew who he was.  What do we know from just one year of watching the guy?  Perhaps he is “Ready” for the NBA.

I wish Lance the best of luck and hope to see him become an instant contributor on his way to a long and fruitful career in the NBA.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportskraze.

-TheSportsKraze