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More Trouble for Stephenson

By October 21, 2008

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Lance Stephenson's highly-publicized high school career made the New York papers for a very different reason this week: trouble with the law.

The Lincoln H.S. guard/forward stands accused of groping a female student in a school hallway, the New York Daily News reports. He has been charged with a class B misdemeanor and released after a court appearance on October 18.

Stephenson flatly denies any wrongdoing -- and in fairness to "Born Ready," the stories about the incident are inconsistent. School officials say the incident happened at a bus stop, but the NYPD report says it happened in a corridor at Lincoln.

In addition to the legal proceedings, Stephenson may face a suspension or other action from the school. That would be his second such punishment -- last January, he was suspended for five days (and three games) after getting into a fight with a teammate.

It will be interesting to see if this incident has any impact on Stephenson's college decision. One of the top prospects in the class of 2009, Stephenson has been recruited by the likes of North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas and USC. Will these allegations cool their interest?

What about Stephenson's home town option, St. John's? "Born Ready" is the sort of player that could help put the Johnnies back on the college basketball map -- but the memories of Grady Reynolds's arrest for sexual assault and the stripper scandal in a Pittsburgh hotel room might be too fresh for Norm Roberts and company to pursue a player with a history of bad behavior towards women.

That assumes, of course, that Stephenson is guilty -- and we're a long way from knowing if that's the case.

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