In-Depth with Memphis Tiger D.J. Stephens (Part 2)

In-Depth with Memphis Tiger D.J. Stephens (Part 2)

Former Tigers standout D.J. Stephens is dealing with life after the University of Memphis. He and his girlfriend Stacie Payne are expecting a child in September, and with them in mind he's working on his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Former Tigers standout D.J. Stephens is dealing with life after the University of Memphis. He and his girlfriend Stacie Payne are expecting a child in September, and with them in mind he's working on his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.

"It's the real world now. I'm not in college, I'll be graduating in May. I have a family to support, my little boy or a girl - I'm not sure which one I'll be having yet," Stephens said.

The Memphis loss to Michigan State during the third round of the NCAA Tournament marked Stephens' last game as a Tiger. It was a somber mood that didn't last too long.

"What set everything apart and helped cheer me up and help get me back to my normal mood is the fact that it's not over for D.J. Stephens. I knew that I have a family that I have to take care of. I knew I had a wonderful girlfriend back home."

And it's his soon to be family unit inspiring him when he's in the gym preparing for what he hopes is a professional basketball career.

"When I first started working out, the workouts were so extreme and intense I thought I couldn't do this. But then it clicked and I thought about them and I was like I've got to keep pushing for my girlfriend and my child."

For all of his highlights while at the U of M, he hasn't seen his name listed on any of the NBA mock draft lists, but that hasn't discouraged him.

"The mock draft it doesn't say anything. It's just something that people, analysts threw together where they feel like people are projected to go. But what they don't put on that mock draft is people's work ethic, people's motor and how they perform night in and night out. So it doesn't matter to me, it's just motivation. I'm working on shooting. Ball handling, defensive drills and stuff like that."

FedExForum is the place where Stephens called home for four years while at the U of M. Will the tradition continue on the next level? Stephens tweeted a picture not too long ago showing him in Memphis Grizzlies blue. Was it wishful thinking?

"I just have to keep an open mind because whoever is going to write the checks I have to be a fan of."

But his soon-to-be mother-in-law, Lashun Thompson, may echo the sentiment of most Memphis basketball fans. "We have preferences. I don't know what his is. And he probably doesn't know what mine is. But I'd like to stay close to home," she said.

And if I was betting man, I'd say Stephens would too.

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