published Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Orlando player pledges to UTC

Lance Stokes slept in the back seat of his father’s Suburban on the ride home to Orlando, Fla., after an official visit to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Their time on campus and in the Scenic City confirmed Stokes’ decision to play basketball for coach John Shulman beginning this fall.

“For me to get the best of my college career and the best life after college, the obvious choice was to go to Chattanooga,” Stokes said. “Coming on the visit was more than the confirmation I needed.”

Stokes is a 6-foot-6 wing from Lake Highland Prep, where he played for former Magic and Nets forward Jeff Turner. Stokes averaged about 11 points and seven rebounds per game last season.

“We had two really good guards that did most of the scoring for us, so Lance sacrificed his game for our team,” Turner said. “He’s going to do some really good things up there.”

Stokes is the son of Fred Stokes, who started at outside linebacker for the Redskins in the 1992 Super Bowl.

“I wanted him to take visits and compare all of our notes,” Fred Stokes said. “I had to trust Lance because I love him and we’ve communicated. But it was like seeing girls in a magazine and falling in love with them, and then finally getting to meet them in person today.”

Stokes chose UTC over three other Southern Conference schools: Elon, Georgia Southern and Western Carolina.

“He’s long and athletic. He can guard bigs or wings, which is something I think Coach Shulman likes,” Turner said. “For him to be very good at the next level, he’s going to have to be a better shooter. He’ll do the work that he has to do to make himself a great player.

“I don’t think Shulman will give him a choice in that matter.”

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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