Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, October 19, 1999

STEVENSON PICKS KU

October 19, 1999

Advertisement

DeShawn Stevenson, thought to be one of the top five high school basketball prospects in the nation, has verbally committed to the Jayhawks.

DeShawn Stevenson, regarded by many recruiting analysts as one of the top five high school basketball prospects in the country, has given a verbal commitment to Kansas.

Stevenson, a 6-foot-5 senior jumping jack from Washington Union High in Fresno, Calif., said Monday night he'd chosen KU over Fresno State, UCLA, UConn and Kentucky.

He said he phoned KU coach Roy Williams on Monday night with his decision and said he will sign a letter of intent with the Jayhawks during the early signing period which starts Nov. 10.

"I picked Kansas because of the great coach and great tradition," Stevenson said. "I knew I wanted to go there the whole time. Kansas has been watching me since the seventh or eighth grade.

"Coach Williams was honest with me. He was an assistant for Dean Smith (at North Carolina). He must know something."

Many Internet and print reports had indicated Stevenson would not sign with a school until April. This was because he wanted to make sure the coach of the school he picked would not head to another school or the NBA.

"I asked coach Williams and he said he was staying there because he loves Kansas and that's the school for him," Stevenson said.

Stevenson, who averaged 27 points a game last year in leading Washington Union to the California Div. III state title, attended last Friday's Late Night With Roy Williams with his mother, stepfather and brother.

"The trip was great, but that wasn't why (Kansas won the committment)," Stevenson said. "I see myself fitting in well at Kansas. Everybody was polite and treated my family well. It's the place for me. Everybody in my family is happy. They think it's a great school and great choice."

That is indeed the case, Stevenson's mother, Genice Popps, said.

"I thought it was a good decision for him. I said all along, it's DeShawn's decision. He is the one who has to go to college," Popps said. "Whatever decision he made I'd be in agreement. He'll be fine there. There won't be a lot of distractions in Lawrence. He can concentrate on school and basketball."

What was special about the recruiting trip to KU?

"It's a nice place. Everyone was nice there. They love their basketball and welcomed us," Popps said.

"I like the way coach Williams presented everything to us -- the basketball and academics -- during the in-home visit," Popps added.

She said her son wanted to sign the letter in November so "he could focus on the season and enjoy his senior year, to not have people calling all the time.

"His focus can be on his senior year in high school. That's where it needs to be," Popps said.

She also said she grew flustered by inaccurate Internet and print reports.

"I'd say, 'Where do they get this information?'" she said. "The only thing correct was he would sign later. But my brother said, 'They are not recruiting anybody at DeShawn's position? They either get him or nobody. So why not commit?' They wanted him. They thought that much of him."

Popps said she could see relief in her son's eyes.

"He seems more settled now that he's made the decision," she said.

Stevenson has yet to record a qualifying score on standardized tests. He took the SAT on Oct. 9. Popps says she believes her son will qualify academically.

As far as his basketball ability ... Stevenson has earned the nickname Shawn De'Glass.

"That's because I'm always dunking and always on top of the glass," he told Slam Magazine.

Another nickname is "Icy" for not venting his emotion in games.

"I like how Tim Duncan goes out and says nothin'," Stevenson told Slam.

In one game at last summer's Vegas Big Time Tournament, Stevenson lit up a Virginia team for 39 points, tossing in five threes.

Stevenson last year was first-team all-state and California's junior player of the year. He also was the California Div. III Player of the Year.

"I've been told by NBA scouts at this stage he's ahead of Kobe when Kobe was a senior," Washington Union coach Larry Trigueiro said. The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant went straight to the NBA out of high school.

"But DeShawn wants to go to college. He has a lot of goals.

"He loves Kansas. This past weekend was everything Kansas is about and DeShawn got to witness it first-hand," Trigueiro added. "He's a great kid."

-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is gbedore@ljworld.com

Commenting has been disabled for this item.