Boo: Samardo Samuels Notes + Photos

HAMPTON, Va. --- The North Carolina basketball program already has the attention of's No. 1-ranked high school basketball player from the class of 2008, and now you can add the No. 2-ranked player to the list of those interested in the Tar Heels.

Jamaican-born Samardo Samuels, a 6-8, 240-pound rising junior, is displaying his developed skill set this weekend at the Boo Williams Invitational. His Metro Hawks cruised to an easy victory Saturday afternoon, as he contributed 17 points (6-10 FG, 5-6 FT), five rebounds and four blocks.

While he will not be described as explosive, he transitions well from one end of the court to the other and moves efficiently around the basket both on offense and on defense.

His rebounding has room for improvement, but he is an opportunistic shot blocker and is an imposing presence in the paint. On offense he establishes and holds position and makes strong moves to the basket with or without the ball. And what makes him particularly attractive is the fact that he has no delusions of playing on the perimeter. He understands that the post is where he will be most effective – he is a true post player and always will be.

Samuels, who grew up in Montego Bay, has been playing basketball for five years, his last two in the United States at Newark (N.J) St. Benedict, but his appreciation for basketball goes back farther than that.

His favorite schools as a child?

"North Carolina, of course," the soft-spoken Samuels said, with slight accent and a big smile, something you see often when talking to him. "They are my favorite school coming up. I'm starting to like UConn a lot. They are all coming into the mix."

He has already had a litany of coaches in the stands to watch him play, including Syracuse, Connecticut, Duke, and North Carolina, among others.

"North Carolina was at my school lately, watching my practice," Samuels said of a recent trip by UNC assistant coach Joe Holladay.

He has some work to do in the high school classroom before he gets to college, but he attributes that to the difference between the curriculum he had in Jamaica and the one he is taking in the United States.

"I'm trying to get [my GPA] up," he said. "Coming from Jamaica, the work is different and so forth."

While Samuels hasn't officially named a list of schools, he has an idea of the style he prefers in a college program

"UConn is a big man school, but North Carolina, I really like their style," he said. "Duke. It's just, I like the teams that influence the big man and get the big man opportunities. Those are the schools I'm looking at."

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