A Man Among Boys On The Basketball Court

Reporter Mike Sullivan has a feature on Louisville recruit Samardo Samuels ...

Midway through his semifinal game against the New York Elite in the IS8 Spring League, Samardo Samuels drove the lane. A guard from the Elite went up to challenge the Louisville prospect. Samuel exerted all 240 pounds of his 6-foot-8 frame toward the rim.

BOOM!

The ball slammed through the basket and the Elite player was tossed a few feet out of bounds as announcer Pete Edwards shouted on the public address system, "That is a grown man dunking that basketball! I told you to move away!"

"I really don't think much about it when I am near the basket," Samuels said later with a smile. "I'm only focusing on scoring the basket."

Later in the game, another player tried to drive to the basket. Slam! The opponent crumbled to the floor. "No pain, no gain," bellowed Edwards as the player retrieved his mental facilities in preparation for the foul shot.

"I don't go into the game looking to knock players down," he said. "I'm just trying to play good defense and block the shot."

While what Samuels says is true, it helps to have his wide frame and pro ready body to give him ample opportunities to intimidate opponents on both ends of the court. "I just try to play hard and help my team win," said Samardo, who played this past season at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, New Jersey.

Samardo performs many aspects of basketball well. Case in point: the same semifinal game against the New York Elite. As one of his AAU teammates tried to shake guard Zack Rosen loose from defending him, Samardo's big body stepped out properly to provide a pick.

Whack!

Down went Rosen, tumbling to the floor. "Someone please call it (pick) out before we have to call 911," shouted Edwards from his courtside microphone.

Rosen was thankfully unharmed. But the mere display of physical force that Samuels showed during the playoff games this month was impressive. "I only go in with the intention of doing everything I can physically to win the game," he said with another smile.

His team in the IS8 Spring League, the Shooting Stars, claimed their second consecutive title. It's rare any team in this particular New York City league has achieved this goal.

Someday, it's likely after he makes his mark with Rick Pitino's basketball program, that Samardo will get his true physical test -- the National Basketball Association. "I can't even think about that right now," he explained. "I'm just trying to get myself ready to play with Louisville."


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