Twitter was popping shortly after South Florida took apart California. The cause? Jakarr Sampson (Akron, Ohio/Brewster Prep) reached a decision. A decision that caught many – myself included – by surprise.
After saying on March 9 that he was locked into visiting Florida and Providence, Sampson ended his recruitment with the school he began it with. St. John’s is the final destination for this springy combo forward who hails from the high school LeBron James attended.
“Coach [Steve] Lavin has love for me,” Sampson said. “I felt that. I bonded with those players when I committed last year, and it was hard leaving them.”
Sampson said recently he was into Kansas, Baylor and Florida, and reiterated that Providence coach Ed Cooley outworked a lot of people. Regardless, Lavin has his man. Lavin worked hard to regain the pledge. St. John’s lost Sampson when he failed to qualify last fall.
“When I left Brewster, St. John’s was the last thing on my mind,” Sampson said. “I was blaming them for me not qualifying, but that was wrong. I was just upset.”
There’s buzz that freshman Mo Harkless may explore his NBA options and check his draft stock. Sampson thinks that will happen, but regardless of whether Harkless is in a Red Storm jersey or not, he's coming to Jamaica.
“Even if I thought he was staying, I would still have come,” Sampson said.
Sampson’s commitment is significant for the Red Storm. He’ll enter the program next year with a year of prep under his belt. Athletically he’ll be at the top of the charts in the Big East. Much will be expected.
Earlier in the week, Lavin landed combo guard Felix Balamou (Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior).