UC's Stephenson Opts to Enter 2010 NBA Draft|
April 7, 2010
CINCINNATI - University of Cincinnati freshman Lance Stephenson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) has decided to conclude his collegiate eligibility and will hire an agent and will be eligible for selection at the 2010 NBA Draft, to be held June 24, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Stephenson looks to become the first Bearcat drafted since James White, who was taken by the Portland Trailblazers with the 31st pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. DerMarr Johnson was the last UC freshman to have his name called out on draft day when he was taken by the Atlanta Hawks with the sixth pick in the 2000 NBA Draft.
"After speaking with Lance and his parents, I fully understand and support his decision to continue his development as a professional," said head coach Mick Cronin. "Lance is a very determined and hardworking young man and he knows that he has much to learn and must improve as a player. Lance and his family are very aware of the path that lies ahead for him and one thing that I have 100 percent confidence in is that Lance is willing to work as hard as he can to reach his potential. We appreciate his efforts on the floor and in the classroom at UC and wish him all the best as he pursues his goals as a professional."
Stephenson was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year at the annual UC Awards Banquet on Tuesday night. Stephenson, who averaged over 28 minutes a night, was second on the team with 31 steals and was second on the team in rebounding with 5.4 rebounds per game.
In March, Stephenson was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, becoming the first UC men's basketball player to earn the distinction since the Bearcats joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005-06. He joined DerMarr Johnson (1999-00 - Conference USA), Danny Fortson (1994-95 - Great Midwest Conference), and Dontonio Wingfield (1993-94 - Great Midwest Conference) as the only players in program history to earn freshman/rookie/newcomer of the year honors.
Stephenson led all BIG EAST freshmen in scoring in overall (12.3 ppg) and conference-only games (12.1 ppg). He also finished in the Top 5 overall among league freshmen in rebounds (5.4 rpg/4th), steals (1.0 spg/5th), and assists (2.4 apg/4th).
Four times this season, the 6-foot-5 guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week, the most by any incoming player. Stephenson won the weekly award the last two weeks of the regular season after averaging 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over UC's last four contests. He also added 11 assists and five steals during the stretch.
Stephenson committed to the Bearcats last summer after a highly-decorated prep career at Lincoln High School (Brooklyn, N.Y.), where he averaged 28.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists to earn Class AA New York State Sports Writers Association (NYSSWA) Player of the Year honors his senior year. He graduated high school as the all-time leading scorer in the history of the state of New York with 2,946 points, passing fellow Lincoln High grad Sebastian Telfair, who was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and now plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers.