Jakarr Sampson (Akron, Ohio/Brewster Academy) is in a good place. After visiting Kansas for the Jayhawks' win over Missouri, he got refocused and helped Brewster Academy put a dent in Hargrave’s undefeated season. Brewster won the prep national championship, and Sampson was the MVP.
“I didn’t even know they were undefeated. We just went out there and played,” Sampson said.
Playing is what Sampson does best. He’s a unique forward. His calling card is his ability to explode at the rim, create ways to score and play with the intensity of a bubble coach lobbying for his team come tournament time.
So, who’s going to get this guy? The contenders are Providence, Florida, Kansas, Baylor and St. John’s. In case you forgot, Sampson signed as a member of the Class of 2011 with St. John’s, didn’t qualify and headed back to Brewster. The decision, following Brewster’s national championship, turned out to be a good way to spend a prep year.
So far, Kansas and Baylor received official visits. St. John’s, well, he’s been there, done that. Florida and Providence, Sampson said, will receive official visits. The question regarding the visits is when? Florida will be in the NCAA Tournament, and Providence may find itself in a lesser postseason event. Providence would be in slightly better position to get him onto campus this month.
While Sampson won’t divulge an order to his list -- he says he couldn’t decide today -- he did acknowledge one coach who is busting his tail, working harder than the rest. “Probably [Providence] coach [Ed] Cooley,” Sampson said. “He’s been relentless.”
Providence has used its geographical advantage -- it’s closest to Brewster -- all year long, as Cooley has been the most visible head coach in Sampson’s recruitment.
You get the feeling that Sampson could be the kind of guy who hits it off with the players and makes his decision based on gut feel. All of the teams on his list like to score, some would use his length better than others but each could use a guy with his skill set.
“It has to be a perfect fit,” Sampson said. “That’s what got to be perfect. If it’s not right you’ll be unhappy. The ideal fit is a team that will let me play defense, get after it, play up tempo and let me get after.”
“That’s the tough part. You start looking at the rosters and where you can see yourself fit in: who got who, who’s coming in behind you. I’m a competitor so I don’t think about that aspect a lot but it kind of do think about it.”