While the college basketball recruiting world focuses on John Wall, another top recruit (No. 11 overall per Rivals.com), Lance Stephenson, is also undecided as to where he'll spend a year before likely departing for the NBA.
Six schools are listed as the most active bidders for his services. Let's analyze each school.
The Jayhawks get everybody who contributed to last season's Sweet 16 team back, including Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins, who have already earned national championship rings. In addition, Memphis recruit Xavier Henry picked the Jayhawks after nearly following John Calipari to Kentucky. Obviously, Stephenson would get to play for a championship favorite, but he would have to battle Henry for playing time.
New coach Sean Miller brings a great résumé, and Nic Wise will probably change his mind about entering the draft with the bevy of guards that are available for NBA teams to choose from. However, the Wildcats didn't start pursuing Stephenson until two weeks ago. While he would probably start right away, the Wildcats aren't really a one-man show.
This would be another situation where he could probably start right away, but the Bruins lose a lot of personnel (Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, and Alfred Aboya). They would be pretty thin up front but fairly decent in the backcourt without Stephenson if Jrue Holiday comes back (which he should). Stephenson should be able to play three in college without too much difficulty.
This all depends on what Greivis Vasquez decides to do. The Terps have gone after Stephenson hard, but if Vasquez stays for some reason, it's doubtful he would come here.
Norm Roberts would pull off his best recruiting job ever if he could land this backyard ballhawk. He becomes the immediate superstar on this team and starts the Storm on the road back to respectability, even if it's only for a year.
James Johnson is gone. Jeff Teague could be close behind him but hasn't hired an agent. Much like Maryland, a lot could depend on what Teague does. This Deacon squad would be stacked if Stephenson decides to come with a starting lineup that includes Al-Farouq Aminu and Chas McFarland.
In conclusion, factoring in Stephenson's likelihood of staying one year and then departing for NBA waters, St. John's looks like the best place for him.
He would be the focal point of the offense, can play in his backyard (he went to Lincoln High in Brooklyn, where Stephon Marbury is an alum), and might lead the Red Storm to a decent season for the first time since the beginning of the millennium.