Archive for Thursday, September 9, 1999

COACH SAYS STEVENSON MAKING RIGHT MOVE

September 9, 1999

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All's well that ends well, says DeShawn Stevenson's high school coach, who is elated the Fresno, Calif., player is headed to Kansas, not the NBA.

DeShawn Stevenson's prep coach says he was stunned a week ago today when Stevenson, the 6-foot-5 Fresno (Calif.) Washington High guard, announced for the NBA.

"I said, 'DeShawn that's not necessarily a good idea. For every Kobe Bryant there is a Korleone Young,''' former Washington High coach Larry Trigueiro said.

Bryant and Young made the jump from high school to the NBA. Bryant made it big with the Los Angeles Lakers, but Young flopped with the Detroit Pistons.

"I'm glad DeShawn's decided to go to Kansas for a year or two, or however many (years)," Trigueiro said Tuesday. "This past year, it was like he was already a member of Kansas' team. When Kansas dropped out of the top 25, it really killed him."

Stevenson, who last Tuesday said he would put his name in the NBA Draft, on Sunday said he'd received a qualifying score on the SAT and was going to honor his commitment to attend KU. He signed with the Jayhawks last November.

"The going-pro thing shocked me," Trigueiro said. "I think what happened is he thought his test results would not be back in time (for May 14 deadline to declare for draft). With Orlando having three picks in the first round and reports that they would definitely take DeShawn, he was thinking, why wait?

"After he announced, he heard some things about where he might really go in the draft. Then he gets his test scores and hears he's qualified " so it's back to his original decision -- Kansas."

Stevenson's mother, Genice Popps, reiterated Tuesday what she reported Sunday -- that Stevenson has recorded a qualifying score of 820 on the SAT and is KU-bound. She said he never sent a letter to the NBA announcing for the draft.

"We're very relieved he's going to Kansas," Popps said, noting written verification of the SAT test score will come in the mail later. "I'm not surprised he changed his mind. A lot of his decision (to enter NBA Draft) was because results of the tests were not back."

Stevenson improved his test score by 400 points, his mom said. ESPN.com's Andy Katz contacted a member of the Educational Testing Service, who said any score than jumps more than 350 would be reviewed. There must be evidence of wrongdoing to reverse a score.

Popps said Tuesday there was "no problem," and her son would definitely be attending KU.

Recruiting analyst Mike Sullivan says Stevenson made a smart decision in putting off the NBA a few more years.

"I think after making his announcement he was going to put his name in the NBA Draft and seeing his parents get upset and hearing he wasn't going to get picked until the late first round or second round, he got scared," Sullivan said. "When a guy like Steve Smith (Oak Hill Academy coach) says DeShawn can't handle the basketball, that's got to scare you. I'm glad he's going to Kansas. He will be an exciting player on the college level. Is he ready for an 80-game season and the rigorous travel of the NBA with his size and skills? No. One percent of all college players make the NBA.

"Is he ready to contribute in college at Kansas? Yes. Can he be a great college player someday? Yes, if he works at it. If he was 6-11, it would be a different story. He's closer to 6-4."

Washington High athletics director Jeff Cardoza also was glad to hear Stevenson changed his mind.

"It's his decision and we'd support any decision he makes and hope he's successful," Cardoza told CBS Sportsline.com. "There's so much uncertainty, especially if you knew the whole situation. If I were him, I'd have a tough time not going (pro). But as an educator, we want him to go to college."

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

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