Meet Samardo Samuels

Perhaps the top target on the early recruiting board in 2008 is this talented New Jersey big man. One national analyst has compared him to another former Duke star, when he dubbed Samuels "another Elton Brand". Learn more about this big time prospect inside.

NEWARK, N.J. -- Samardo Samuels may have scored just seven points on Wednesday during St. Benedict's 74-59 victory over Blair Academy in the New Jersey State Prep A Title game, but his value to the Gray Bees lies deeper than points on the stat sheet.

When Samuels fouled out with 5:16 to play and St. Benedict's leading 61-41, the middle of the Gray Bees' defense parted like the Red Sea.

All of a sudden, the Buccaneers had access to the baseline, and active 6-6 1/2 junior Patrick Hazel began to score buckets. Wing Julius Coles scored on a three-point play, then junior combo guard Justin Robinson followed with one of his own as Blair strung together a 15-7 run to draw within 68-56 with 1:22 remaining.

"He clogs up the lane and challenges shots," pointed out Blair Head Coach Joe Mantegna. "He does it in different ways."

"He clogs it from a sheer physical standpoint," he continued. "And then with his length, he's able to block quite a few shots."

Samuels' box out technique often deprives opponents of second shots. And if you take the ball right at him, he'll often send it right back or deflect it, leading to a Gray Bee transition opportunity.

Yes, his aggressiveness has its pitfalls, and Samuels has fouled out of a number of games this season. But with two more years to grow and learn, he may eventually acquire the concept of good foul, bad foul.

Regardless, Samuels is still likely to impact the game on both ends of the floor. He has a ticker and he takes it personally when someone challenges him in the paint.

"He reminds me a lot of Shelden Williams," Mantegna concluded.

Pretty lofty praise for a high school sophomore, but Samuels has earned it thus far in his budding career.

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