Sunday, July 12, 2009
Stephenson avoids jail time
ESPN.com news services
Forward Lance Stephenson, who has committed to play at Cincinnati this fall, agreed to a plea deal and will not serve jail time in his sexual assault case.
Stephenson, ranked No. 12 in the ESPNU top 100, pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct on Friday and will seek counseling and perform three days of community service, according to the New York Daily News.
The 6-6 Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln High School player, a 2009 McDonald's High School All-American who was considered the top high school player in New York state last season, had been scheduled for a July 15 trial.
A source told the Daily News: "His lawyer moved up the court date from next week and had him take conditional discharge."
Stephenson and another player from Lincoln, Darwin Ellis, were charged after being accused of groping a 17-year-old girl near the high school in early October 2008.
"Mr. Stephenson is looking forward to transitioning to college life and is pleased to put this matter behind him," his lawyer, Alberto Ebanks, said, according to the Daily News.
Not everything is resolved with Stephenson, however. A source with knowledge of the NCAA enforcement process told ESPN.com's Andy Katz in late June that the NCAA is expected to look into Stephenson's amateur status. Stephenson was part of a documentary, called "Born Ready," and a tour of the Under Armour factory while visiting Maryland earlier this year.
Multiple coaches who recruited Stephenson told ESPN.com that they expected an NCAA investigation into Stephenson's amateur status as soon as he committed to a school.
Sources said at the time that Cincinnati isn't worried about Stephenson's status or, for that matter, the assault case.
Stephenson averaged 28.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists at Lincoln, and graduated as the all-time leading scorer in the history of the state with 2,946 points.
Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz was used in this report