In the category of totally expected, DeShawn Stevenson is going
to attempt to jump to the NBA straight out of high school. We had
heard this at the Roundball Classic, but since we didn't have explicit
permission to pass it on, we treated it as an off-the-record comment.
Sadly enough, this had led to a family rift, as DeShawn's parents think he's
making a huge mistake.
His stepdad, who apparently is a pretty sharp cookie, told ESPN that "DeShawn isn't ready mentally for this
game. Athletically he can play there. But it's a big con game out there. DeShawn isn't a street kid. He comes from a home with a mom and dad. He's not Leon Smith."
Boy is he seeing this with clear eyes. Not DeShawn, who insists, with all the
bravado of youth, that "I've got a lot of confidence in
myself. I won't give up. Nothing scares me. Kobe was the only other shooting guard and I'll be the next one. Everyone else who has come out was a three or four (small or power forward)."
First of all, he's wrong, some centers have come out as well, and there's a
premium on big guys. That will never change. Little players are a dime a dozen;
a Tim Duncan or Shaquille O' Neil or even an Eric Montross is valued simply by
the laws of supply and demand.
Second, there's a pretty basic reason why Kobe is the only smallish player to
go straight from high school: he was talented enough, more mature than the
average high school senior, and his father was a long-time NBA veteran.
And even in his case it took awhile to make the adjustment to the cut-throat
world he inhabits, and even Kobe has wondered if he did the right thing.
Latrell Sprewell will scare the crap out of him in a few months, and so will
Grant Hill, Steve Smith, Vince Carter, Michael Finley, Scottie Pippen, Kendall
Gill, Reggie Miller, Mitch Richmond, Jalen Rose, Gary Payton - you get the idea.
Even Shammond Williams - no disrespect to Shammond - is light years ahead of
DeShawn Stevenson. No days off from here on out, no showboating. It
constantly amazes us that 18 year old kids don't understand that this is one of
the most competitive jobs in the world. No one is giving them anything
from here on out, least of all remedial coaching.
DeShawn's stepfather blames adidas for pushing him to go pro early, a charge
which Sonny Vaccaro denies, pointing out that DeShawn was on the All-Star
circuit rather than in class this spring.
Next dumb highschoolers to possibly rush off to the NBA before they are
ready: Darius Miles, Mario Austin, and Alton Ford.