Stephenson Keeps Focus on the Hardwood

Ever since he busted onto the scened as a schoolboy wonder, it seems that Lance Stephenson has been making headlines. Now a junior at Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln, the intense six-foot-six inch wing is easily identifiable as one of the premier players in the country regardless of class.

Skilled, athletic and a lightning rod for controversy, Stephenson is also one of the most polarizing figures in high school basketball. To some, he’s an example of high school athletes getting too much, while to others he’s a kid playing a game who is being forced to mature under a microschope and whose every move is over analyzed.

The way Stephenson looks at it, all he can do is play hard and hope it all works out.

“I’m just trying to play hard right now. I just want to win tournaments and play hard,” said Stephenson. “Everywhere I go I just come out to play hard and try to show that I’m the best.”

A fabuously versatile player who can handle the ball, score inside or out, rebound and make plays for teammates, it seems that everybody wants to know which way Stephenson may be leaning. However, according to him he’s not even thinking schools and is once again worried most about what’s happening on the floor right now.

“Right now I’m just playing ball, I’m not even worrying about college,” Stephenson told Phog.Net. “I’m just trying to play ball right now, then next year during the season I’ll work on that.”

When asked to compare his game to another player in either college or the NBA, Stephenson pauses because he’s never really tried to compare himself to another player. But, if there is a guy he models himself after it’s another big, strong and versatile guy.

“I’m a tough and physical player, I want to win at all times,” says Stephenson of his style. “I model myself as a LeBron James type. Just play tough, be physical and play hard.”

Even though he doesn’t spend entirely too much time talking to the media himself, Stephenson is aware of their presence. The spotlight often comes close to shining a bit too intensely but again, Stephenson seaks refuge on the floor where he embraces the fact that everywhere he goes, players, fans and scouts are likely to devote a little extra attention to him.

He also knows that it’s not easy to stay on top.

“I just try hard. If you lose you lose, it’s all a game. I do try to win every game, but if it’s not working that way you still have to play hard,” said Stephenson of pressure of playing with lofty expectations.“It just makes me work harder every day. I like people coming at me but sometimes it’s hard work. It takes hard work to play games against guys like this, every game you have to play harder and harder and I’m trying to work on that.”

As his junior year of high school nears it’s end, Stephenson knows that he’ll need to turn his attention towards picking a school sooner or later. When he does, it’s going to be all about finding an environment where he feels comfortable, and where he’ll be competiting with other guys like himself.

“I’m just going to visit every school right now to see who has the top players,” said Stephenson. “I want to know who is getting the top players and who has the top coaching staff.”

*Stay tuned tomorrow for a second story on Lance Stephenson and his recruitment featuring comments from his father Lance, Sr.

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