Samuels dominating Nike Global Challenge

Samardo Samuels entered the summer rated the No. 1 center prospect in the Class of 2008 by Scout.com. After strong showings at the NBPA Camp, the Lebron James Skills Academy and the Nike Global Challenge, the future Louisville star has made a strong case that he's the best player in the nation.

Samardo Samuels entered the summer rated the No. 1 center prospect in the Class of 2008 by Scout.com. After strong showings at the NBPA Camp, the Lebron James Skills Academy and the Nike Global Challenge, the future Louisville star has made a strong case that he's the best player in the nation.

Samuels is currently in Portland, Oregon for the Nike Global Challenge. After slightly injuring his knee at the Nike Peach Jam earlier this month and sitting out the Vegas events last week, Samuels has come back strong this week.

So far, Samuels has led his team to a 2-0 record, averaging almost 25 points and 9.5 rebounds. He made 13-14 field goals in his first outing in Portland, hanging 30 points and five boards on a team headlined by UCLA recruit Drew Gordon. Against China, Samuels went for 19 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

"He banged his knee up at the Peach Jam and he was cautious with it for a while after that, but he's doing fine now," said Stephen Johnston, Samuels' guardian. "He didn't go to Vegas because his focus this summer was on the camps. He wanted to establish himself as the No. 1 player in the country."

If those rankings were solely based on production, there's not a player in the country who has enjoyed a better summer than the 6-foot-8, 270-pound Samuels. He took MVP honors from the NBPA Camp in June, led his team to the championship at the Lebron James Skills Academy and has been dominant at the Nike Global Challenge in Portland this week.


Samuels has dominated this week in
Portland.

"Samardo really doesn't care about rankings," Johnston said. "Clark Francis had him rated kind of low and it didn't bother Samardo at all. He knows when it's time to perform and just goes out and does it. He wants to show people that he's just as good or better than anybody in the class. He has a lot of pride and he wants to show Louisville didn't make a mistake taking him."

Obviously, Louisville is extremely fortunate to have Samuels in the fold. Not only is he one of the elite players in the country, he's also working hard to convince some of the other top players in the nation to come with him to Louisville.

"Samardo is very happy with his commitment and he's ready to come to Louisville and play right now," Johnston said. "Samardo and Tyreke Evans are close and they talk often. In fact, they're probably hanging out right now in Portland."

According to Johnston, Evans isn't the only prospect Samuels is working on for Louisville.

"I've heard he's also working on Willie Warren," Johnston said. "They've become pretty good friends. What school wouldn't want all three of those guys?"

When he returns to New Jersey next week, Samuels plans to trade in the basketball for school books. Well, not entirely. "He starts summer school next Wednesday," Johnston said. "He's getting ready for school and taking the ACT this year."

And while his recruitment is over, Samuels still plans to make an official visit to Louisville sometime this fall.

"He's going to sign with Louisville – it's a done deal," Johnston said. "Everyone involved with Samardo has been impressed with all the coaches at Louisville. Rick Pitino is so impressive and Samardo took the first step toward becoming a man when he committed to Louisville."

Stephen Johnston is the Director of Jamaica Basketball. You can learn more about Jamaica basketball and Rick Pitino's recent visit to the Jamaica basketball camp at www.jamaicabasketballdevelopment.com.


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