Skip to content

On Air: The Official Blog of WSJU Sports

Jakarr Sampson, the highly touted 6’8″ swingman from Akron, Ohio, has given his commitment to Steve Lavin to wear Johnnies red and white in 2011.

Attending St. Vincent-St.Mary’s (OH) (LeBron James’ alma mater) for his first three years of high school, Sampson is spending this season at Brewster Academy (NH) before heading to Queens next season. He announced his decision on ESPNU, choosing St. John’s over Louisville and Tennessee. That means, for the first time in recent memory, St. John’s stepped into the ring with recruiting giants Rick Pitino and Bruce Pearl and came out with their man.

Sampson is a consensus Top 50 player by experts across the country and is considered by some, including ESPN Insider Recruiting, to be in the Top 25. There is no doubt that a new era is dawning in St. John’s basketball. Just a few weeks ago, when Forest Hills High (NY) forward Maurice Harkless committed to SJU, talk was that the Red Storm had landed their biggest recruit in a decade. Now, with Sampson on his way, rhetoric is the same. In a matter of weeks, Steve Lavin has managed to outdo himself and, amazingly enough, still has 8 more scholarships to fill for the Class of 2011.

It is now clear the type of player Lavin prefers: the long, slender swingman with athleticism and versatility. His first recruit as St. John’s head coach, current freshman Dwayne Polee Jr. (6’7″, 185lbs), Harkless (6’7, 200lbs), and now Sampson (6’8″, 200lbs) will undoubtedly create big mismatches in the open floor when they all take the court together in 2011.

Scouts point to Sampson’s athleticism as the major catalyst for the rest of his game. Because of his size and length, in combination with his quick first step, he can beat defenders off the dribble and finish above the rim, as well as do work with his back to the basket. On the defensive end, he is regarded as a solid shot blocker and can guard three positions on the floor, thanks to his versatility and natural athleticism. He probably needs to add a considerable amount of muscle to his frame to be more effective at the Division I level, along with polishing his skills under heavy defensive pressure.

And, as mentioned before, the Johnnies are far from done. Eight scholarships remain open and, according to a source, Lavin has eight to ten players on his big board that he has had from the beginning and is confident that he could get a commitment from any of them. Lenn Robbins of the New York Post reports that “sources told The Post that forwards Amir Garrett (No. 51) of California; Dominque Pointer (No. 81) of Winston-Salem, N.C.; and center Norvel Pelle of California, the No. 2 center and No. 19 recruit overall; all could be headed to Queens.”

Perhaps it is true: national recruits are once again seeing red.

-Dan Martin

@Dan_MartinWSJU

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: