Sampson heating up

With his junior season coming to a close, 2015 Madison Prep four-star guard Brandon Sampson has an eye on this summer. He details his summer plans, which schools are recruiting him the hardest and discusses what impact former teammate Jarell Martin's decision will have on him.

Things are starting to heat up on the recruiting front for one of the best in Baton Rouge, and Louisiana, in the Class of 2015.

Four-star Madison Prep guard Brandon Sampson (6-4, 180), who has a big summer on deck, is continuing to see interest from some of the nation's finest programs as his junior season heads toward the finish line.

"Vanderbilt came on this season," said Jeff Jones, Sampson's high school coach. "They were relatively new. The Arizona coach, (Sean) Miller, has been all over him. Coach (Steve) Lavin from St. John's has been all over him. Coach (Billy) Kennedy from A&M and (assistant) coach (Glynn) Cyprien have been active too."

Louisiana's flagship institution is also in it for Sampson's services.

"For LSU (assistant) coach (David) Patrick is more of the lead guy, but coach (Johnny) Jones has been in touch with him as well," Jones reported.

The Tigers, who Sampson said are recruiting him as a combo guard, already have one of the player's former prep teammates on their roster in Jarell Martin, a 2013 McDonald's All-American. As Sampson explained the two are close, but that won't necessarily influence his college decision. In fact most of their conversations don't pertain to basketball.


Will Sampson follow Martin to LSU?
"He's like a brother to me," Sampson said. "I call him every now and then and ask him how he's doing, and he calls me some times to ask me how I'm doing."

That Martin hasn't quite found his comfort zone at LSU – he's averaging 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds – is something that Sampson recognizes, but he doesn't view it as a negative for the Tigers in his recruitment.

"(He's enjoyed his time) a little bit," responded Sampson. "He didn't get there and it be exactly as he expected, but every game you see him develop and get better with his shots. He's getting more physical under the basket. He's getting better and better every game you watch him."

The bigger takeaway from Martin's experience for Sampson is the realization of what it takes to be ready to play right away on the next level.

"You gotta have that mindset of just being ready. You can't come in being lackadaisical," Sampson said of Martin's advice to him. "There's gotta be a killer instinct just to get out on the court. You've gotta play really hard. You can't be laid-back and have a settled-down attitude. You have to play with a motor."

Jeff Jones sees it the same way.

"The big thing with Brandon is just developing and getting better," continued Jones. "It's good that he can see where Jarell is and can see where other (former high school players) are. It'll help him realize this high school stuff is cool, but it really doesn't matter.

"What matters is being ready to play when you get to college, especially for what he wants to do. That's the biggest thing for him, more than deciding where he'll go to school – him really being ready, so that wherever he goes he's ready to produce."

Sampson, who plays his AAU ball for Louisiana Elite, made no bones about what it is he wants to do. "I want to get where every basketball player really wants to go, the NBA, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to get there."

Part of Sampson's plan to get there is embarking on a nationwide tour this summer. According to Jones his pupil will attend the Pangos All-American Camp in California, the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp in Virginia, the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Washington D.C., Under Armour's Undeniable Camp in Los Angeles, the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia and a start-up camp Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is bringing to the Oakland area.

"It's a really big summer," Sampson acknowledged. "I have a lot to prove, a lot to do at all the camps we're going to. I have to go out there and put my name out there so I can get looked at by a lot more schools."

After all that traveling Sampson intends to make a final decision during his senior season. He currently lists Arizona, LSU, Texas A&M, St. John's and Georgetown as the schools showing the most interest.


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