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Prep Zone: Stephens going, going ... not quite gone

Published: Friday, July 18, 2014 10:52 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014 11:00 p.m. CDT

Everette Stephens and Kay Stephens are moving to West Lafayette, Indiana, which is just fine with their son, Kendall.

“He was just hoping we don’t move into his dorm room,” Everette Stephens joked.

Kendall Stephens, a St. Charles East graduate, was an all-Big Ten freshman guard for the Purdue men’s basketball team last winter. His parents made it to plenty of games but will have a considerably smoother ride to games once they complete their move to Indiana in the coming week.

It’ll be a homecoming for Everette and Kay – Everette starred at Purdue before making it to the NBA, while Kay is from West Lafayette and still has family in the area.

The two have long discussed moving back to the Lafayette area and finally were able to make it work on the jobs front, with Kay finding a teaching position and Everette landing a sales job. 

Despite the move, the Stephens clan isn’t done with St. Charles quite yet – at least not Everette.

Everette Stephens became an assistant boys basketball coach at East when Kendall played for the Saints and remained on staff after Kendall left for Purdue.

Everette Stephens and Saints coach Pat Woods have a plan in place to allow Everette to remain an East assistant for one more season, albeit in a reduced capacity.

Everette Stephens said he will try to make the 160-mile trek back for most Saints games as well as remain a sounding board for Woods and East’s players leading up to the season. 

Everette Stephens said he feels strongly about the 2014-15 Saints and didn’t want to miss out on what he anticipates to be a banner season. East enjoyed a strong summer led by returnees such as standout point guard Cole Gentry, fellow guards James McQuillan and Jake Asquini and forward Mick Vyzral.

“I’ve had a good ride with coach Woods, and I think we have a special team, and I want to be able to help him get the best of it because those type of special teams don’t come too often,” Everette Stephens said. “And when I say special team, I mean probably the most talented team I’ve seen or been around since living in St. Charles, and not only that but they play the game the right way. It’s just a combination of good basketball.”

Woods expects to add a new assistant coach to the varsity mix to help compensate for Everette Stephens’ reduced role but Woods said retaining Stephens for another year is a major plus.

“He’s been a big part of what’s going to happen this year and I’m cautiously optimistic [about the season],” Woods said. “I think it’s going to be a good year. I just want to kind of keep things going the direction they’re going, and it keeps him around for that.”

Kendall Stephens has momentum of his own that he’d like to keep snowballing. The sharpshooting guard averaged eight points a game for Purdue, tying for second in scoring among Big Ten freshmen.

Everette Stephens looks forward to witnessing his son’s progression from just across town.

“He was pleasantly surprised that he was freshman all-Big Ten,” Everette Stephens said. “He said he did better than he thought, but it’s so hard, the physicality. He said ‘I know I can do more but I’m just not there physically. I want to do more so I’ve got to get stronger.’ ”

If eating home-cooked meals are part of that equation, Kendall should have plenty of opportunities in the years to come.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or jschwab@shawmedia.com.

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