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Old 06-04-2010, 07:16 PM   #1
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swg is a jewel in the roughswg is a jewel in the roughswg is a jewel in the rough
Thoughts from Katz

How about a Lance Stephenson update. It seems as though Stephenson's NBA Draft stock has risen lately, just like Mick Cronin predicted would happen when he began working out in front of potential employers.

Some, like the Sporting News' Mike Decourcy, has written he's hearing buzz that Stephenson might edge his way into the first round - the promised land of guaranteed contracts and plenty of riches. Others, like NBAdraft.net, think Stephenson is still a second-round selection (this web site's most recent mock draft has him going at No. 34 overall to Golden State).

But it seems pretty clear that Stephenson is in a better position now than he was when he declared that he would leave UC and enter the NBA Draft. According to an article written by Adam Zagoria of SNY.com, Stephenson's trainer, a guy named Andrew Moore, said Stephenson is improving steadily.

"He's been a pleasure," Moore told Zagoria. "He comes in every day and works hard. He's supremely focused. We looked at his body and leaned him out. He's lost some of his body fat. He's more defined and in turn, he's more explosive. He's really benefited from losing a little bit of weight and he's gained lean muscle mass."

What Moore is trying to accomplish is to improve Stephenson's deficiencies. Although Stephenson, especially later in the Bearcats season, could be mighty impressive in taking over a game, he struggled from the 3-point line (shooting 21.9 percent) and he was mediocre from the foul line (66.4 percent). His assist-to-turnover ratio also was unimpressive (84 assists to 81 turnovers).

But there's no denying Stephenson's talent, and though I think he'll still fall to the second round, it wouldn't be shocking to see him taken in the first.

"I like being the underdog," he told hoopsworld.com http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=16268. "Having everybody doubting me and saying, 'Oh, he's not ready," I just want to show everybody different."

-In case you didn't hear - and I'm sure you probably didn't - a couple of former Bearcats football players were selected in the UFL draft Wednesday night. Antonio Chapman - who was on the Bengals roster last year - was taken by Sacramento in the sixth round, and Curtis Young, who had a tryout with the Bengals during rookie minicamp, was taken in the 10th round by Sacramento.

Good for those guys. I have admiration for former college standouts who don't give up on their dreams, no matter how minor league their current situation is. I admire Ben Mauk and Terrill Byrd and Dominick Goodman for playing in that indoor football league. I'll admire Young if he takes that spot in Sacramento. I admired Dominic Ross when I met up with him a few years ago after he had played an AF2 game.

The money is minimal, but the exposure can lead to dreams that come true. Ask Kurt Warner about that.

-It's impressive the way Butch Jones (or somebody playing the role of Butch Jones) has taken to Twitter. It's the wave of the present, and it's something that can be used to great effect. A coach has to want to do it, though, for it to be effective. The best local one I've seen lately is Xavier basketball coach Chris Mack's feed. But Jones isn't too far behind.

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