Lance Stephenson will play for Cincinnati right away
This offseason, plenty of major schools passed on Cincinnati guard Lance Stephenson, the leading scorer in New York City history. They passed for several reasons, including Stephenson’s role in a documentary while in high school, his reportedly abrasive father, his apparent attitude issues, and his academic record. That’s a lot of baggage to take on, even for a player as talented as Stephenson.
Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin was in a position to take a gamble. Yesterday, the gamble paid off: Stephenson was cleared to play by the NCAA and will miss no games. Cronin confirmed Stephenson’s status with a simple text message: “Clear. No games.” (Good thing reporters can read between the lines. A little more detail, coach?)
Of course, this is not to say that Stephenson’s troubles are over, or that Cronin’s gamble is over. Stephenson has only just begun his career. As we’ve learned from numerous recent one-and-done players (which Stephenson could be; he’s that talented, though he isn’t thought of too highly by draftniks yet), oftentimes the troubles come after the player’s already packed his bags for the NBA. Or maybe Stephenson hits a rough patch and gets pouty, the sort of thing he’s been criticized for before. Anything could happen; there’s a reason elite programs didn’t roll these dice.
But Mick Cronin did. So far, it’s snake eyes, or whatever a good roll is when you play dice. I’m not really sure. I don’t throw bones very often. The point is that Cronin has done well here so far. Now comes the easy part: playing basketball.