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Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson, Jr. (born September 5, 1990) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Indiana Pacers of the NBA. He was drafted with the 40th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He attended Lincoln High School in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn.[1] Stephenson won city basketball championships in all four years of high school, and is New York State's all-time leading scorer in high school basketball. He was named New York State Mr. Basketball after his senior year and appeared in the 2009 McDonald's All-American Game.

High school career

Stephenson first caught the attention of scouts at age 12, when Clark Francis, a talent evaluator, saw him play at Rumble in the Bronx AAU tournament. And before his first year of high school, he attended the Adidas ABCD Camp, where he challenged O.J. Mayo to a one-on-one game.

In the summer of 2005, Stephenson enrolled at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, but he only attended the school for three days, before the school lost in the championship game of a youth league and he did not win the tournament MVP. The following week, Stephenson did not return to classes at Bishop Loughlin, and was attending Abraham Lincoln High School near his home in Coney Island. National Basketball Association players Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair had also attended and played basketball at Lincoln High. Head coach Dwanye Morton said, "{Stephenson} always talked about outdoing Sebastian, outdoing Stephon,", and called him "The best I've ever had at Lincoln." Stephenson went on to lead the Railsplitters to the city title that year.

Lincoln High repeated as champions his sophomore and junior years, while Stephenson won back-to-back Player of the Year honors from the New York Daily News.

As a sophomore, he was the youngest player featured in the movie Gunnin' for That No. 1 Spot, which followed eight high school basketball prospects. In 2007 as a high school junior he was named to the annual USA Today's All-USA boys basketball team, the only non-senior to given that honor.

In July 2008, Stephenson tried out for the United States national team's under-18 team, but was cut because of chemistry reasons.

On February 15, 2009, Stephenson passed fellow Lincoln High School alumnus Telfair's previous record of 2,785 points in the Brooklyn borough title game to become the all-time leading scorer for high school basketball in New York State. In March 2009, Stephenson led Lincoln High to an unprecedented fourth consecutive Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) class AA championship. Stephenson scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to in the 78–56 final win against John F. Kennedy, and helped Lincoln become the first school in city history to win four straight titles.

Stephenson's high school career ended in the New York State semifinal, where Rice High School beat Lincoln 77–50, and Stephenson was held to 12 points by Rice's Durand Scott, who also beat out Stephenson for the Daily News' New York City player of the year honor. He ended his career with 2,946 points.

In April 2009, Stephenson played in the McDonald's All-American Game, finishing with 12 points, six assists and three steals.[

Recruiting

In early 2009, Stephenson chose Kansas, St. John's and Maryland as his finalists, but he canceled two announcements, and his father said that he had narrowed his choice to Maryland and Arizona.

His official visit to Maryland in February came under scrutiny after he was given a tour of the Under Armour headquarters during his visit. This may have constituted a recruiting violation, as Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is a Maryland graduate and on the university's board of trustees, and by NCAA rules, "representative of the institution's athletics interests" or a booster.

Stephenson initially told reporters he would announce which college he would be attending following the PSAL title game in March, but delayed the announcement until the McDonald's All-American Game on April 1, saying, "I already know where I'm going. This is not the right place [to make an announcement]." On March 31, Stephenson, who had been expected to commit to Kansas during the All-American game's media event, instead announced that he would delay the announcement again.

In April 2009, another top recruit Xavier Henry, who had been released from his commitment to Memphis after coach John Calipari left to take the Kentucky job, announced he would play for Kansas. Because Henry's commitment put Kansas at the 13-scholarship limit under NCAA rules, it ruled out a scholarship offer for Stephenson.

On May 20, the last day of the late signing period, Stephenson had not signed a letter of intent, but his father Lance Sr. told USA Today that he would not make a decision until his sexual assault case from October was resolved. The day before, a judge had adjourned his case until June 29.

On June 30, Andy Katz of ESPN.com reported that Stephenson signed a financial aid agreement with the University of Cincinnati and, he joined them for the Bearcats for the 2009–10 season. Questions remained over his eligibility because of his involvement in his documentary, but on November 6, 2009, the NCAA cleared him to play in Cincinnati's season opener against Prairie View A&M University on November 15 without missing any games.

Professional career

On April 7, 2010, Stephenson announced that he would forgo his final three seasons of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2010 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 40th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. In his NBA Summer League debut, he scored 21 points, snared 4 rebounds and dished out 3 assists in a 88-77 win over the Orlando Magic in the NBA's Orlando Summer League. Stephenson signed a multi year contract with the Pacers on July 22, 2010.

On February 27, 2011, Lance made his NBA debut for the Pacers in a game against the Phoenix Suns. He played four minutes, scored two points, had two assists, grabbed a rebound, and had one turnover. Towards the end of the season, the Pacers demoted Stephenson due to ongoing immaturity issues. On April 25, 2012, Stephenson recorded his first career start for the Indiana Pacers and scored 22 points against the Chicago Bulls.

2012–13 season

During the 2012–13 season, Stephenson became a regular starter for the Pacers due to the injury of Danny Granger. On May 18, 2013, in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the New York Knicks, Stephenson recorded a new career high 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 3 assists to lead the Pacers to a win over the New York Knicks and advance to the Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2010–11 Indiana 12 0 9.6 .333 .000 .786 1.5 1.8 .3 .0 3.1
2011–12 Indiana 42 1 10.5 .376 .133 .471 1.3 1.1 .5 .1 2.5
2012–13 Indiana 78 72 29.2 .460 .330 .652 3.9 2.9 1.0 .2 8.8
Career 132 73 21.5 .440 .296 .644 2.8 2.2 .8 .2 6.3

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2012 Indiana 4 0 3.0 .222 .500 .500 .0 .3 .0 .0 1.5
2013 Indiana 19 19 35.4 .408 .281 .622 7.6 3.3 1.2 .1 9.4
Career 23 19 29.8 .399 .288 .615 6.3 2.8 1.0 .1 8.0