Q&A with Samardo Samuels and Coach Hurley

RALEIGH, N.C. – Despite some overly physical opposition, Samardo Samuels posted 20 points, six boards and two blocks in St. Benedict's 65-40 opening round Holiday Invitational win over Broughton. After the game, Samuels and coach Danny Hurley spoke with the media …


Can you talk about what it's like playing in a venue like this?

It's another opportunity to show off my talent and show how good a program we have at St. Benedict.

What do you think of the area?

It's nice – everybody since we've been down here has been friendly to us. It's a nice environment.

Do you feel any more pressure seeing the big-name coaches (like Roy Williams) that are here watching you?

Nah, not really. I'm just going out to play to the best of my ability.

Have you visited any of the schools in this area yet?

I've been down here to North Carolina before – to UNC. I was down here for their Midnight Madness.

Can you talk about what that was like?

It was nice. It was fun. There was a lot of excitement. Of course it was crazy, the stands were full.

What are your thoughts about being recruited by Duke and UNC?

Being from Jamaica, that's a long way. I've come a long way. I've read about the schools in Jamaica – Michael Jordan, Grant Hill. It's a nice opportunity to be recruited by them.

What are you looking for in a school?

I'm looking for a school – I can't say to get me where I want to go to, because that's on me – but I want somewhere that I'll be comfortable and will best fit my style of play.

Talking about the game tonight, they seemed to be playing you very physical –

I'm used to that. I've gotten banged up [before], but they were going for my lower body [tonight], so that was the harder part. But I'm used to getting banged up being the type of player I am, I'm used to it now.

You seem more active offensively this year …

Last year we had Lance Thomas, so it was my job to rebound and play defense as a role player last year, but now it's my opportunity to show what I can do offensively.

What's the status of your recruitment and where you're going to go from here?

Right now I'm taking it slow and I'm looking at teams -- like I'm looking at Florida … schools where the big men are doing well. UNC, of course, has a good background of big men that play like myself. UConn, schools like that. That's where I'm looking now.

Is there any timeframe for visits or a decision?

Not at this moment. Right now I'm just focused on playing and trying to get my grades up.

So could we expect a decision after the season? In a year?

I'm going to take my time. I'm not in any rush at this point. I'm just going to wait and see.


They were really physical with Samardo out there tonight and it seemed to frustrate him somewhat. Is that something you think he's adjusting to at this point?

(laughs) The kids play hard and tough and sometimes when you've established yourself as a player maybe you think people want your autograph as opposed to wanting to compete real hard against you. He's got to prepare himself for that. People are going to take hard fouls against him and will be physical with him because he's a real talented player.

Can you talk about his performance tonight?

Coaching isn't a lot of genius when you've got somebody who is really good. When he gets the ball eight feet from the basket, in general good things are going to happen. Their guys defensively made his catches maybe a little more difficult than he's used to, but he competed real hard and he had to earn everything. He got some junk in transition, but in the halfcourt he had to earn every bucket.

He talked about how his role is now to produce more on the offensive end. Can you talk about his development over the past year?

Well, he needs to be. Last year we had three great seniors that were our best players and captains. From a basketball standpoint he's become a much better defender – he took some charges in the first half that not many elite players are willing to do. And he's expanded his offensive game to about 15 feet from the basket. He's become a much more accomplished player and is starting to show some leadership.

What's the next step for him in his development?

He's got to develop a full skill package to be a four man that can step out to the three-point line. He's got to become a better passer, he's got to develop a tighter handle, and he's got to become a better perimeter defender.

So you see him more as a four rather than a five at the next level?

I think in college basketball he can certainly be able to play both positions, kind of like a Tyler Hansbrough role. At the level beyond that, professionally, he's got to develop four skills like a Carlos Boozer type.

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