Cards make short list for Samardo Samuels

New Jersey sophomore Samardo Samuels ranks among the elite prospects nationally in the sophomore class. The 6-8 center from St. Benedict's is already a major recruiting target for several high major programs, and he's lists Louisville high atop his short list of favorites.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Samardo Samuels may only be a sophomore, but the 6-8, 240-pound center/power forward is attracting attention from all quarters this winter.

He has become the focal point of opposing teams looking to spring an upset on Dan Hurley's loaded St. Benedict's Prep squad.

Paramus Catholic Head Coach Tony Campbell, who spent 11 years in the NBA, could only offer praise after Samuels burned his squad last weekend for 15 points and seven rebounds in the Gray Bees' 63-45 victory over the Paladins.

"Samuels kicked our butts and we couldn't recover from that," Campbell said. "He was a beast inside and we really had no answer for him."

Campbell said that he had hoped to keep Samuels from catching the ball deep in the low post. But that proved easier said than done.

"Even though I haven't seen too many big guys in that sophomore class, he's way up there with his size and ability to take up real estate," Campbell admitted.

Hurley has coached a number of outstanding prospects in his five years at St. Benedict's, including NBA first round draft pick J.R. Smith. He knows he has something special in Samuels, who burst on the scene back in June at the And 1 High School Basketball Championship regional qualifier at Seton Hall University.

"Size with good hands and a body like that, and he's learning how to play for position more each day," Hurley said. "He's very fortunate that he's playing with experienced players like Lance Thomas."

"He's a hell of a player and he's going to keep getting better and better," the coach predicted.

On top of becoming the opposition's focus, Samuels is beginning to become a high priority for major Division I college programs looking for post help in the Class of 2008.

Duke, North Carolina, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers, St. John's and Seton Hall are among the programs who have already expressed serious interest in Samuels.

"He will be telling people where HE wants to go," Hurley said, with a smile.


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