Schools calling on Sampson

Since not being granted admission to attend St. John's by the NCAA, JaKarr Sampson has been a popular target for college coaches.

Colleges from all over are descending on Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy this fall to check out one of the best prep teams in the country. One of the key pieces to the Brewster team is Jakarr Sampson. After recently not being granted eligibility by the NCAA, Sampson is back at Brewster and making the best of a situation he didn't anticipate.

Last season at Brewster, Sampson had an excellent season. The versatile forward made an impression on the floor and seemed destined to suit up at St. John's for the 2011-12 season. Unfortunately for Sampson he came just short of qualifying. There was some talk of Sampson making it back into college for the second semester, but AAU coach Don Anderson says that is unlikely at the moment.

"(Sampson) is getting re-acclimated to the system up at Brewster," said Anderson. "Brewster has been a wonderful system for him, and now he is focused on getting his grades up to par, and Brewster will help him in that area. Since Brewster is on trimesters, it is going to be difficult to get him to college in December."

Anderson continued, "JaKarr is focused on the right now, and that means going to class, doing a good job in those classes, and getting the grades he needs. As far as December goes, it is iffy because of the kind of trimester system that Brewster is on."

According to Anderson, Sampson was understandably disappointed at first with the ruling handed down by the NCAA, but after the initial disappointment he is back working hard and understands what he has to do.

"At first it was difficult for him because he was looking forward to playing college basketball this year," said Anderson. "He was upset and hurt, but he has a good team of people around him with family members and friends. He vented a little bit in terms of frustration at first, but he is real good now. He calls home two or three times per week. Mitch McGary is up there, the staff has been great, and he is good now. The anger and frustration has gone away, and he is now re-focused on what he has to do."

Since Sampson wasn't deemed a qualifier, his letter of intent with St. John's is no longer valid. With that schools are now calling and coming to Brewster to watch him work out.

"St. John's is definitely still an option at this point," Anderson explained. "Besides them, Kansas, Baylor, Memphis, Cincinnati, Kentucky is showing interest, he met with the Providence staff, it has been everybody really. He is a guy a lot of schools haven't seen since last year. JaKarr has gotten taller and stronger, so he is just trying to be the best player he can on the floor."

Anderson went on to say, "Right at this moment, he is just enjoying being back on the court. I tell all of the coaches that this is JaKarr's decision. Ultimately he has to decide what school is the best fit. He is just leaving his options completely open at this time."

With a year at Brewster under his belt, added strength, and a renewed focus, Anderson says that the college coaches and the coaches at Brewster have been praising Sampson's play so far this fall.

"I am telling you, you have to see him play," said Anderson. "He had an opportunity to hang out with LeBron this year and play against him just outside at his house. He is taller than LeBron now, so he is still growing. Coach (Jason) Smith tells me he is playing good and looking good. His jumper is much better, he is blocking shots, and rebounding better as well. He is worlds apart from what he was last year."


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