Samuels spent the weekend in Louisville, making a visit to Rick Pitino's program. The No. 6 prospect nationally in the Scout.com Top 100, Samuels has consistently listed Louisville among his favorites. Last week, Samuels' AAU coach, Karriem Mimminger, gave UNC the slight lead over Louisville and Connecticut. He also mentioned local schools St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers in the running for the Newark, NJ native.
So did Samuels' visit to Louisville change the way the star forward views his recruitment? Is North Carolina still in the lead?
"It's probably up in the air right now," said Mimminger. "He is confused because all the schools are nice. So he doesn't know (who leads) right now."
Louisville has obvious frontcourt needs in the Class of 2008, especially with the loss of 7-foot recruit Jeff Withey last week. Withey reneged on his verbal commitment to Louisville and Samuels could fill that huge void in Pitino's 2008 recruiting class.
"Rick Pitino is a guy who has had a great run and Samardo really likes how he does things," Mimminger said. "Coach Pitino told him he would push (Samardo) as hard as he can and Samardo likes that about him. He knows that he has a chance to play right away and maybe start if he goes to Louisville."
Samuels, who was accompanied by Steve Johnson, who he lives with, and Mimminger, did all the things you'd expect during his visit. He got a look around campus, met with Rick Pitino, played pickup basketball with the Louisville players and got to know them better, took in a college baseball game and enjoyed the night life around town.
"He really liked everything about Louisville. It was a nice visit," Mimminger said. "He enjoyed being with the guys and he already knew Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark, which was good. He felt like he really fit in at Louisville. He also like Coach Steve Masiello a lot."
Next up for Samuels will probably be a return visit to UConn this weekend. After that, Samuels will probably sit down and begin working his way toward a decision. One thing seems certain, Samuels recruitment is likely off limits for a few schools just now trying to get involved.
"We're going to revisit UConn. I think he wants to visit them one more time," Mimminger said. "Kentucky and Arizona are trying to get involved, but we're not letting anyone else get involved. He's going to take a couple days and think about (visiting UConn).
"His guardian (Steve Johnson) recommended that he wait until September to make a decision. We talk about it once a month to get everyone's opinion on the situation. All the schools are nice, and if you look at Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan, (Samardo) can't go wrong with any of those coaches."
Samuels wasn't the only 2008 recruit on campus for Louisville last weekend. Angel Garcia, another top 20 prospect, also visited Louisville. Samuels and the 6-foot-10 Garcia likely won't be the last prospects visiting Louisville this month. Chris Singleton, a top 50 prospect, Eloy Vargas, a skilled 6-10 forward, and super-talented 2009 guard Kenny Boynton, are also expected to check out the Cardinals later this month.