Lawson/Oladipo: Lamar Stevens

HYATTSVILLE, Md. — With the bleachers full of coaches and the court full of talented competitors, Philadelphia’s Lamar Stevens put on his boots and went to work on Wednesday night. Which is to say, he strapped on those boots and walked over the field.

At a camp featuring commendable parity, there weren’t too many players who truly created separation on opening day at Lawson/Oladipo. But Lamar Stevens was an obvious exception, as the 6-6 combo forward created positive action throughout his team’s game.

The obvious, smack-you-in-the-face comparison for Stevens is Dez Wells. Like Wells, he’s an excellent athlete (but not quite as explosive) who loves to attack off the bounce, in transition and simply is a powerful, fearless competitor. He’ll always enjoy a strength advantage over most opponents and he gets everything he can out of his 6-6 frame.

Stevens also shoots it okay, certainly better than Wells at that age, and especially from medium-range. He has a slow release that could prove troublesome in college, but his touch and mechanics look reasonably sound.

Meanwhile, he’s a staunch defender and tough rebounder who competes with a tireless work ethic. It’s no surprise that he’s an increasingly hot commodity with the gentlemen sitting courtside at his games.

”I think I’m headed on an upper path,” Stevens said. “I’ve just been in the gym working on my game trying to expand my skills. I’ve really been putting up a lot of shots in the gym and am happy with where my game is now and have my confidence.”

One question that many ask pertains to position. We currently regard Stevens as a PF/WF, but he may slot more accurately as a WF/PF. The bottom line, regardless, is that nearly everyone views him as a combo forward. For his part, he doesn’t feel the need to categorize himself.

”I don’t really want to put a number on my position because I feel like I can do so much,” Stevens said, “but ultimately if you wanted to put a number on it you could say three/four.

”But I wouldn’t mind playing the two or even the five if I have to.”

His recruitment includes multiple high-majors who are fully invested in winning his signature. Stevens remains open but also seems to have more clarity than many of his peers.

Indiana, Marquette, Villanova, Pitt, Temple … that’s probably the top five,” Stevens said. “All of those have offered. They’ve all been there for awhile.

”I have an official set up to Pitt in August and Marquette in September and am working to set up my official to Indiana.”

Stevens hasn’t taken any officials to this point and thus will have up to five trips, should he opt to use them.

”I just want to go somewhere that I have the best opportunity,” he said, “a coach I can trust and a family environment. I’m very optimistic about this.”

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