Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn (N.Y.) has seen its share of success stories. The school’s alumni directory reads like a book of famous people.
Marv Albert, John Forsythe, Louis Gossett Jr., Harvey Keitel, Neil Diamond and Neil Sedaka all attended Lincoln. Arthur Miller, who authored “Death of a Salesman,” was a member of the Lincoln Class of 1932. The 1955 pop-classic song, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” was the creation of youngsters from nearby Coney Island who called themselves The Tokens.
Director Spike Lee did not attend Lincoln, but he used the school as the home of fictional basketball superstar Jesus Shuttlesworth (played by NBA star Ray Allen) in the 1998 movie, “He Got Game.”
Lee may have to revisit that storyline in 2009 and give Lance Stephenson the starring role. Stephenson, 18, is one of the most sought-after high school basketball recruits in the nation, and there is nothing about his game that is ficticious. He’s hoping to follow the path taken by Lincoln alums Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair, who both parlayed their NYC high school hoops legends into a career in the NBA.
Depending on which internet publication you are reading, Stephenson is somewhere between No. 1 to No. 9. Rivals.com has given him a five-star rating. Then again, Maalik Wayns of Roman Catholic H.S. (Pa.) is ranked No. 25 on the Rivals list and he also has a five-star rating. I’m guessing Rivals gave 25 players five stars to avoid any favoritism.
During a nationally televised game Thursday night, Stephenson scored 32 points in a loss to Duncanville H.S. (Texas), which boasts three studs of its own in Shawn Williams, Roger Franklin and Julian Washburn. Williams has committed to Texas while Franklin is headed to Oklahoma State. Washburn is the son of former NBA player Chris Washburn.
Even though his team lost, Stephenson was easily the best player on the court. Kansas Coach Bill Self and Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford were both in attendance, but Ford was only there to support his guy, Franklin.
Self is one of nine coaches hoping to land the 6-5, 200-pound Stephenson, who is undecided. Other schools in the running are UCLA, USC, St. John’s, Memphis, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Indiana. The Hoosiers are longshots in the Stephenson Sweepstakes, but rumor has it newly minted Bloomington boss Tom Crean just bought the unlimited texting plan so don’t count him out.