There were reports from numerous sources that Lance Stephenson would stay on and play for another year with the Cincinnati Bearcats.
However, on Wednesday, Stephenson surprised many by his announcement. According to Slam Magazine, Stephenson spoke about his furure in basketball saying, "I have decided to withdraw from the University of Cincinnati and enter my name into this year's NBA draft."
Of course there will be mixed reactions, citing that he needs more time to grow as a player, or he needs to stay an extra year because he will only land in the second round of the draft. One more year in college couldn't hurt and might possibly improve his rankings in next year's 2011 draft. Currently, the Brooklyn, NY native is projected to be the 9th pick in second round of the 2011 draft. So why the rush to enter this year's draft?
According to Slam, Stephenson's response to why he declared for the draft was simply. "After carefully reviewing my options, it is now clear to me that the need to emotionally and financially support my family, especially my young daughter."
It has always been a known fact that Stephenson would eventually want to play in the NBA, but not so soon. Besides financial responsibilities, playing in the league has always been a big dream for Stephenson. "Along with my long-standing and burning passion to play in the NBA outweighs my desire to return to the University of Cincinnati. I want to thank the administration, the athletic department and the entire coaching staff especially Mick Cronin and Tony Stubblefield at the University of Cincinnati for their support and guidance over the course of this past year. It was and always will be a privilege to be a Bearcat," said Stephenson.
Only time, not critics, will tell whether or not 'Born Ready' will be truly be ready for the NBA.
According to AP, the school said Wednesday that the Big East rookie of the year said he will hire an agent, which means he can not withdraw from the draft. It is scheduled for June 24.
the 6-foot-5 guard from New York City led Big East freshmen in scoring with 12.3 points per game, and was among the top five freshmen in rebounds, steals and assists.
He was chosen Big East rookie of the week four times, including the last two weeks of the regular season, after averaging 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds over the final four games.
Stephenson was chosen as the Bearcats' defensive player of the year during the team's awards banquet Tuesday night.
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