Though St. John’s is losing TyShwan Edmondson following the spring semester, the program is preparing for what could be the most significant signing in recent years for the Johnnies.
Lincoln High School phenom Lance Stephenson still has not announced where he will play his college ball, and a roster spot and open scholarship in Queens could be all the convincing “Born Ready” needs.
Stephenson haS been deliberating between St. John’s, Maryland, and Kansas for his collegiate destination, buthas delayed his official decision multiple times in the past few weeks.
The Daily News reported on April 9 that Stephenson was expected to announce his decision early this week. At the time the Torch went to print, Stephenson still had not announced his college destination.
Stephenson is one of the many superstar basketball players to emerge from Lincoln High School, including Boston Celtics point guard Stephon Marbury and Marbury’s cousin, Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Sebastian Telfair.
Many factors contributed to Stephenson’s public indecisiveness. He originally planned to announce his decision at Madison Square Garden during the PSAL championships, which Lincoln won for the fourth consecutive year.
However, he then announced after he visited Kansas that he would delay his decision until the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 31, leading many to believe that he had eliminated St. John’s from consideration.
The Daily News even reported that sources close to Stephenson were near positive that “Born Ready” would choose the Jayhawks. It made complete sense; Kansas assistant coach Danny Manning, a recruiting confidant of head coach Bill Self, was seen in the crowd of Lincoln’s PSAL semifinal win over Boys and Girls at Carnesecca Arena on March 15.
But McDonald’s came and went, and there is still no concrete decision from Stephenson, who instead opted to wait a few weeks to further contemplate his decision.
Then the college basketball world was rocked on April 1 with the news that Memphis head coach John Calipari was leaving the school for a greener pasture – the head coaching job at Kentucky. As a result, many of the recruits Calipari had committed to Memphis were suddenly backing out from their commitments.
One such recruit was Xavier Henry, ESPN’s No. 1 ranked player in the country. Henry is a carbon copy of Stephenson, as they are both 6-6 shooting guards who can score at will.
Once Calipari left for Kentucky, and Henry freed himself of his commitment to Memphis, Kansas became more interested in him than in Stephenson.
And though Stephenson wasn’t fazed by the turn of events-he told The Daily News that “that situation won’t affect my decision” – it was clear that he needed more time to formulate his decision.
When news broke of Edmondson’s decision to transfer last week, The Daily News reported that Stephenson was to make an official visit to St. John’s over the Easter holiday weekend, something he had previously done at both Kansas and Maryland, where his Lincoln teammate James Padgett will attend. Stephenson is considered by many fans to be the savior that the St. John’s basketball program needs. He is also thought to be a “one-and-done” prospect, a player who spends his freshman year at a school, then departs for professional basketball.
Stephenson may have been “Born Ready” to play basketball, but he was not “Born Decisive.”