Monday, March 10, 2008

Lance Stephenson- Don't Listen to the Hype . . . He's Even Better

Lance Stephenson is one of the most recognized high school basketball players in the nation. The 6'6 junior swingman from Lincoln (NY) burst onto the scene in the summer of 2005, before he even began his high school career by challenging current USC Trojan OJ Mayo, a player two grades above him. Since then, Lance's name has been synonymous with New York basketball, as he is the most recent phenom being produced by Linclon, the same school that both Sebastian Telfair and Stephon Marbury went to. The hype surrounding Lance Stephenson is immense, and the superstar merely went above and beyond expectations at the Prime Time Shootout in a win over in-state rival Rice (NY). Stephenson was surrounded by cameras almost as soon as the game ended, and was then mobbed by people attempting to get his autograph. Stephenson patiently signed for about 45 minutes, and while doing so, he took some time to talk to me.

NB: You guys had a big win tonight, you had a lot of points, what went into that performance for you?
LS: I think we did [well]. I think we played as a team, and we just played smart on the court. I think we played real good defense today too.

NB: Did you feel that you putting on such a performance out there was helping your teammates out as well?
LS: Oh, I just wanted to shut it off in the beginning of the game, start it off real [well] because the team feeds off of me. So, I think we did [well] with that, and we ended off [well] with defense.

NB: Do you notice regularly that when you’re playing well, the team . . . comes around you and also performs up to that same level?
LS: Oh yeah, I like it when they feed off of me because I like to get everybody motivated to win, so I . . . did that today.

NB: That was a nice win for you guys, [you] still got a couple big games left, state playoffs. . . . What are you looking to accomplish the rest of the way?
LS: I just want to win city and state [championships]. So, that’s what we [are] trying to do this year.

NB: You’re a junior still, but college is two years down--
LS: I got none, I got no lists. No lists.

NB: How were you able to continue scoring in the second half even when they were putting more one-on-one pressure on you?
LS: I think I just feed off of them. If they [are] going to pressure on me, I just let them get the fouls, so I go right to the line.

NB: Your jumpshot was really on tonight, [you] kept on knocking it down. What would you say to some younger kids who want to be like you when they’re in high school? What would you tell them to do?
LS: Work hard, work hard, just do what you want to do. I [have] been working hard since I was a little kid. So, I love basketball, that’s why on the court, you just see me going hard.

NB: Do you feel any extra pressure playing at Lincoln, a school that Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair came out of?
LS: Oh yeah, Sebastian and Stephon Marbury, they [are] good people, they taught me a lot. They just said keep your head and stay focused, so that’s what I’m doing.

NB: What’s your favorite part about playing high school basketball?
LS: Oh, I love the competition. Everybody wants to come at me, but they don’t know that my teammates [are] good as well. So, . . . I love that.

All the hype that you are hearing about Stephenson just is not true. No, the hype just does express how good this junior really is. Lance was one of the most impressive players at the Prime Time Shootout, and put on the best performance of anyone in his class at the event. Stephenson can take it to the hoop, shoot from long range, and he has height than can allow him to help out down low. Stephenson is the complete package offensively. Whatever schools ends up with Lance Stephenson will be one lucky program.

Note- photo is from

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