The Bearcats breakdown is back after a week off and we get right back into the breakdown with the third player who has left the UC program for good this season. That player is the Big East Rookie of the Year, Lance Stephenson. Stephenson made many of us go like this
when he decided to say he was staying at UC during the Big East Tournament, and then after the NIT he went pro and hired an agent. Still, we can't hold that against Lance. We all knew he was one and done. He was the best player UC had this season, and if he weren't on the court, who knows how UC would have done. The thing that sucks the most is when he finally put it all together in March, we kinda believed he would stay and he left. That made me feel a little dumb for believing him, and I'm guessing the same was true for you. Let's look at his production this season.
Lance Stephenson was the leading scorer this season for the Bearcats, putting home 12.3 points per game. Stephenson shot 44% overall, but a horrendous 21% from 3. He made 16 of 73 from distance. He was an average foul shooter at 66%. Stephenson used 26% of Cincinnati possessions, which was 11th in the Big East. His offensive rating was 99.2, which is disappointing from a player that controlled the ball so much. It was 75th in the conference. Lance's effective fg% was 46.1, and his true shooting % 49.3. Both were in the middle of the Big East. Stephenson got nearly 70% of his scoring from 2 point shots, which is quite a lot from someone who wasn't a big man. His shooting was a huge disappointment this season. I didn't expect him to be JJ Redick, but I didn't expect him to be my little sister out there either.
Stephenson's best scoring game was in the horrible humiliation against Georgetown. Stephenson had 23, which was half the UC offense, on 11-17 shooting. His second best was in the Crosstown Shootout against Xavier with 22. He crossed 20 one more time, adding points 20 and 21 in the last second in the victory over UConn. The free throws made him 7-7, which was his career best. Lance had 19 twice, the BET game against West Virginia and the win over Lipscomb. Stephenson had 18 against DePaul in the game he did this.
Stephenson's worst game was against Marquette. He scored 2 points in only 11 minutes. That game still pisses me off. The season could have been completely different if Mick didn't screw up with his stupid non subs. Lance was one of many Bearcats who didn't show up to play at South Florida, where he had 4 in 20 minutes. His return to New York was forgettable, when he scored 7 in 36 minutes on 3-9 shooting.
Lance Stephenson was the second leading rebounder on Cincinnati, averaging 5.3 a game. Lance gobbled up 1.8 offensive rebounds, 7.2% of the UC o boards for the season, and 3.5 defensive boards, 14% of the UC total. His best rebounding game was against Texas Southern, where he had 11. He had 10 against DePaul for his only career double double. Lance grabbed 9 three times, two in wins over Rutgers in the BET, and Providence, and the loss to WVU. He had 8 twice, in the win over Miami, and the loss to Syracuse.
Stephenson was second on UC in assists, with 2.5 a game. That was good for 19% of UC's assists, placing him in the top 30 of the Big East. His career high was 7, in the game was Texas Southern. He had 5 three times, in the wins over Winthrop, Lipscomb, and the BET win over Rutgers. He had 4 four times, 2 wins, Maryland DePaul, 2 losses, Dayton and Pittsburgh. Clearly, Cincinnati played better when Lance Stephenson was distributing the ball. This is probably something that Mick Cronin didn't realize, or didn't care about, because Lance should have had the ball in his hands more. He turned the ball over a lot, which was probably why he didn't. His assist to turnover ratio was 1. That's pretty bad. Stephenson had 17.6% of UC's turnovers. Maybe Mick was right about him not having the ball.
Lance Stephenson was probably the best on ball defender UC had this season. In the biggest game of the year against WVU, he was on Da'Sean Butler. He was second on the team in steals, with 31. He had 6 blocks. Lance's memorable moments were the Crosstown Shootout, where he still shouldn't have passed the ball to Dion Dixon, and the Big East Tournament, where he carried UC to the third round. He passed well against Rutgers, he guarded well and made big shots against Louisville, and he was everything the second half against West Virginia.
I think it's clear to say that Lance Stephenson was the best Bearcat of the season. The offense was there all year, and the defense stepped up at the end of the year. He had his bad times, like the hissy fit and subsequent team quitting at UAB, but he also had good times, like beating UConn. Lance Stephenson is going to be remembered in a weird light at UC I believe. Some people will remember him like this
beating UConn, and some will remember him for this