Lance Stephenson was set to announce his college decision on March 31.
The New York star was said to be choosing between Kansas, St. John's and Maryland.
|It's not a question of talent that's making coaches back away from Lance Stephenson (below). (Getty Images)|
At least with Wall, the hesitation is on Wall's side.
Kentucky, Duke or Florida would take his commitment this second.
But most traditionally powerful schools -- even traditionally powerful schools that need players, like Arizona -- are passing on Stephenson like he's Hamburger Helper at Cousin Eddie's, leaving the McDonald's All-American in a unique position. Basically, he has joined Renardo Sidney as a top 10 prospect no solid program with a secure coach wants, proving we've reached an era where talent alone is no longer enough to keep everybody intrigued.
Now don't get me wrong; talent is great.
Few win without it.
But just as UCLA and Southern California passed on Sidney despite the fact that he's a future pro living miles from their campuses, several schools have either passed on or showed no interest in Stephenson. Over the past week, CBSSports.com spoke to multiple schools once involved in Stephenson's recruitment for clarification, and though the exact reasons behind the lack of interest varied, the common theme was that taking the Class of 2009 standout simply isn't worth the trouble for anyone who isn't desperate.
Can you imagine?
A McDonald's All-American not worth the trouble?
In most cases, schools kill each other -- and sometimes cheat like hell -- to land a top 10 prospect, particularly one who remains available this late in the process. But the majority of college coaches are avoiding Stephenson like he's Swine Flu, mostly because they -- according to sources speaking on the condition of anonymity -- believe dealing with his father (Lance Stephenson Sr.) will create more headaches than wins, and/or that the NCAA might eventually question whether Stephenson's amateur status has been compromised. He has been a high-profile prospect since before high school, a notable talent on the summer circuit where agents and the runners who gather for them tend to invest in the futures of potential stars.
In other words, Lance Stephenson is like a supermodel with herpes.
(Yeah, I said it.)
He looks great from a distance, and you can't help but look. But you know that inviting him into your home could be regrettable, which is why many coaches have taken less-talented/safer players and left Stephenson for the desperate who believe the possible reward outweighs the possible risk. For their sake, I hope they're right. Because barring a change of plans, some school will accept a signed national letter of intent from Stephenson on May 20, at which point the circus will begin.
Sure, there's a chance it'll work out and be fine.
But the number of coaches practicing abstinence should tell you something.