Ed Cooley and staff practically lived at JaKarr Sampson’s games this year, developing a great relationship with the 6-8 high flying forward. However, it wasn’t enough to lure Sampson away from Steve Lavin and St. John’s. It was announced he re-committed to them late last night.
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.
The Friars were thought to be in great shape with Sampson, having a strong possibility of filling a huge hole in the front court for next year. Sampson not only surprised everyone with his timing (he said he would wait until April), but also the fact he chose St. John’s. While it shouldn’t really be much of a surprise given he committed there at one time in 2010 and is friends with a lot of the freshman, it definitely caught most people off guard.
I can't remember the last time I was as shocked in a decision as I am in this one. No one was thinking Red Storm for Sampson
For Providence, this one hurts. Bad. Sampson could have been a huge piece of the puzzle to complement all of the talented freshmen guards coming in. However, it’s not the end of the world and Ed Cooley can’t be expected to fill every open slot with Top-30 caliber players (we still have a Top-10 incoming class, remember?). The staff is aiming high, but as we’ve seen over the years competition is something fierce with these types of kids. It’s going to suck facing Sampson in conference play the next several years, but nothing we can do but move on.
While we still don’t know who is staying/leaving in the front court, Cooley will surely focus on several other bigs for 2012, including Chris Obekpa, Orlando Sanchez, and Carlos Morris. Scout Friars also reported that 7-footer Matt Willms had the Friars in his final 2.
…”I love him man”. In a recent video about his recruitment, JaKarr Sampson discussed his Kansas visit, his relationship with St. John’s, and of course how Ed Cooley is a clown but a hard recruiter who is recruiting him “super hard”.
Is it me, or does JaKarr’s smile get even bigger when talking about Ed Cooley?
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’s 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.
Well good news is, JaKarr Sampson didn’t pop while he was out visiting Kansas this weekend. Bad news is, he couldn’t have gone to a better game in seeing Kansas come back from 19 points to beat Missouri in OT. In fact, Jeff Borzello from CBS Sports called it the best game so far this season. Oh crap.
"It was crazy, I got goosebumps from how loud it was," JaKarr Sampson on his visit to KU, story on the trip and what's next coming shortly.
JaKarr Sampson talked with Adam Finkelstein at today’s National Prep School Invitational held at RIC. His Brewster team to victory and scored 22 points with Ed Cooley in attendance. Keep working him, Ed.
Here is a live steam of the South Kent / Brewster game (Note: started at 7PM, so 2nd half is underway). Perhaps Ricardo Ledo can convince Brewster big man JaKarr Sampson to commit to PC while he drops many points against them?
I wasn’t prepared to spend the next 10 off days weeping gently.
An upset in the making? It certainly could have been.
From this point, however, it appeared that PC’s superior conditioning and defensive pressure began to wear the Bulldogs down, as Cotton finally received offensive help from Henton, Vincent Council and Gerard Coleman. Most of the damage came from the free throw line, as PC connected on 14 consecutive free throws as a team in the second half…and they slowly pulled away. With the near perfect day from the line, the defense finally turned up the tempo on the Bryant offense, limiting touches to super soph Alex Francis (17 points, 13 rebounds), and rushed shots from Dobbs, Maynard and Ben Altit.
Two years ago, the Bryant men’s basketball team trailed from start to finish in the season opener at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. But on Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs not only showed how far they have come in such a short time, but gave the host Friars more than they could handle before falling, 72-61, in the final minutes.
Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) paced the Bulldogs with 17 points and 12 rebounds, his third double-double of the year and the 11th of his career for the sophomore forward. SophomoreDan Calandrillo (Leonardo, N.J.) chipped in with a career-high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor as Bryant finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field.
Great writeup from a stacked tournament that included some Friar targets such as JaKarr Sampson.
Sampson was once again solid, finishing with 18 points. His jump shot is flat, but he made big free throws, connected on a few baseline jumpers, and finished with his typical loud dunks. Where Sampson has the most potential, however, may be as a lockdown defender. He’s got great length and athletic ability, and his wiry frame doesn’t do his strength justice. Sampson isn’t afraid to be physical, and in an era in which SportsCenter glamorizes who gets dunked on versus who makes plays to win, his challenging Noel on that dunk was a sign of his competitiveness. Would be a perfect fit with the fast-paced Friar guards.
PC also gives blogger a scare, who last checked the score 5 minutes into the 2nd half and saw they were down by 8.
Cotton tallied a career-best 34 points, the most scored by a single Friar player this season. The guard, who always has the green light from Cooley to fire away, had 20 of PC’s 29 points at halftime and continued to shoulder the scoring burden well into the second half. Freshman LaDontae Henton notched the second double-double of his young career, popping for 13 points and 12 rebounds.
“Bryce became Superman for a minute,” noted Cooley. “We run a lot of different things to get him looks all over the floor. Today was one of those days he could have had 50. He just didn’t take enough shots.”
Not sure if this is anything we don’t know already.
If there was a poll ranking the worst 9-2 — or better — teams in the country, the Friars would have to be in the top five.
Eight of their nine wins have come against teams whose RPI is 225 or higher, and four of those wins have come against teams ranked among the lowest in the country — Brown (322), Fairleigh Dickinson (324), Bryant (334) and Florida A&M (next-to-last at 343.)
Rookie MarShon Brooks continues to impress with his offensive skill level. Johnson referred to him a “the young kid who is very creative with the ball, can score, can play above the rim, really can get out and run.”
But Johnson is first and foremost a lover of all things defensive.
“We’re asking him to get more involved defensively, get some more steals, take more chances – be a rookie,” Johnson said emphatically. “He’s more of a rookie on offense, and too much of a veteran on defense.”