Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's
He's kind of like a smaller version of Eddy Curry – a big, sturdy inside guy who is skilled enough to hurt you on the blocks, but can face you up as long as he stays within his range and doesn't' drift too far, because he is an asset facing the hoop as well. His bread is buttered in the paint, with his width and size and his ability to just get close-range buckets – though he's not a guy who plays above the rim.
He's a guy who blocks shots in his area. He's not a shot chaser because that's not the type of athlete he is. As a rebounder, he does a good job getting boards in his area and expanding a bit. He's not the tallest guy, but he has a presence with his width and overall size, which helps make him a good rebounder. For a guy who didn't grow up here, he's got a nice feel for the game.
He's not the tallest guy, but he has a presence.
Explosiveness is something he'll want to work on improving, but for a guy who's only played two years of high school basketball, he's certainly got a nice resume working for him. What you'd like ideally is to see him get taller and you want to see him play around the rim a bit more, be more explosive and be more athletic in the paint because that's a great way to offset his height, to a degree. To have quicker feet and be more explosive to finish in traffic – that would really take his game to the next level.
When I think of a signature performance for Samardo Samuels, the Eddie Griffin Challenge in Philly back in November '05 comes to mind. His New Jersey team lost the game, 79-73, but when dumped the ball inside, he delivered the goods and it earned him team MVP honors. We had Samuels with 19 points, 12 boards and 3 blocks. That's a typical Samuels performance, he's a consistent double-double guy with some blocks thrown in.
Center. Does he have more power forward height than center? Probably, but the roles are changing in college basketball. I'd probably say of at least 75 percent of the teams recruiting him, he'd be a center for those schools. He stands a chance of being the biggest guy on your roster in terms of size and presence when he gets to college. Typically that means he's going to play center. I wouldn't get so caught up in the power forward or center label. Just describe him as a post player – that's where he plays.
No. 1 center, Top 10 overall -- He's first out of the gate. To this point he's got the best resume of any of the centers in the class. He was first and fastest out of the gate to make his mark and that can be very good, but it also can be challenging because there will be a number of late developing centers in this class. He was the first one to burst onto the scene, so his resume is much deeper.
That doesn't mean he can't round out his skill package. Samuels' upside is in developing the tools he already has. He isn't a guy who will blow you away with his athleticism. The challenge for him is to continue to develop what he has. He's not a 6-11, 240-pound Kevin Garnett-type. He's a different player with a different body and athletically that'll be the long term challenge. He doesn't have issues running or anything like that – you're just looking more at an Eddy Curry than say a Brandan Wright. And that's why with guys like Samardo, if he wasn't putting up the numbers he is, you'd be concerned, but he's built a resume and hits you every time with a strong double-double – his resume is based more on production than potential.
Samuels' upside is in developing the tools he already has.
Samardo Samuels comes into college and is more than just a rebounder for you as a freshman. With his low post game, and his size, he gives you a legitimate post presence as soon as he enters college. He's physically ready for that level -- this guy has some real thickness, he's got a big strong body.