Stepheson rolls along

Alex Stepheson is one of the best big men on the West Coast, but tends to get a bit lost in the shuffle. Everyone talks about Spencer Hawes and the Lopez twins, but Stepheson gets a little less run. The 6-8 power forward boasts offers from of the nation's best programs and is quietly serving notice in the class of 2006.

Stepheson boasts offers from the likes of Arizona, Wake Forest and UConn and is getting a lot of interest from North Carolina. He's getting a lot of love from both coasts and may have to decided if he wants to stay close to home.

Right now he is listing six schools, North Carolina, Wake Forest, UConn, Arizona, Georgia Tech and Washington. When asked if he has a leader he is quick to answer.

"Not at all," he said. "I won't have one until I take those five visits."

He does not have any real timetable, only that he'll make a decision by November. He's already made a number of unofficials but will make sure that he takes all five official visits before making a pledge.

He has already been to Arizona for Midnight Madness and has made it clear that Lute Olson is a selling point.

"I definitely like the coach," Stepheson said.

Another coach that has made a great impression is Connecticut's Jim Calhoun. When the Huskies' head man spoke with the power forward it left a great impression.

"Loved it, loved it a lot," Stepheson said of their conversation.

Stepheson has been playing well of late. He had a great NBA Players Camp and followed that up with a good performance at the ABCD Camp in New Jersey. He is rated as the nation's sixth best center and the 36th best player overall.

"Talk about passing the look test, Stepheson is an impressive looking prospect," said recruiting analyst Eric Bossi. "At 6-9 he runs the court with the ease of a wing, has tremendous bounce around the hoop and is the owner of a terrific looking long and muscular frame. More than ever, Stepheson is also passing the player test once he gets into action."

One thing you can count on from Stepheson is aggressiveness. He has been particularly aggressive on the glass and there is a good reason for that, the guard oriented nature of the summer camps.

"People know that you aren't getting the ball that much so you just go out there, play hard, be aggressive, and you'll be noticed doing something," Stepheson noted.

Although it is tough to get touches, Stepheson is getting attention. Other players may have flashier games or bigger names, but Stepheson is going things the right way. He wants more exposure at the camps, that is only natural, but he knows that he has a big time program in his future. It is more important to the SoCal player to get better.

"Just competing against the best players," Stepheson said of the benefits of the summer recruiting circuit. "Developing into a better player because of it, maybe get a, little exposure, but just learning a lot and developing."

Although Stepheson is an elite prospect he has long been considered one of the best big men who will attend college. Now that every player has to go to college (or at least prep school) it could have a trickle down effect in recruiting. Conceivably Stepheson could lose a spot at a school if a higher rated player goes there now that he has to attend college, but Stepheson is in favor of the 19-year rule the NBA just passed.

"I don't think it makes a difference for me that much," Stepheson continued. "It's a new rule, everyone has their own agenda as to what their going to do. Everybody will do their own thing. But it will make the NCAA better, and the games more exciting and better."

For now Stepheson is content. He has most of the big dogs knocking on his door and will clearly be attending a big time program. While he is not getting all the headlines, he is secure in his ability and his game.

Alex Stepheson Profile

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