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JaKarr Sampson Taking a Leap of Faith

by Edward Kim | Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

St. John’s 6 foot 9 inch, 214 lbs. sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson announced Monday evening that he would be declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft.  He played in 66 games over 2 seasons at St. John’s, ending his career with a 13.9 PPG on 47% and 6.4 rebounds. His career totals are 915 points, 420 rebounds, 74 assists, 68 blocks and 57 steals.

JaKarr Sampson Photo Credit: Harrison Malkin

JaKarr Sampson
Photo Credit: Harrison Malkin

In a draft that will be full of underclassmen, Sampson will have to really improve his game and his overall strength to show NBA talent evaluators and GM’s that he is NBA ready.  He seems to be aware of where his game needs to improve and that he will need to put in a lot of hours in the gym before the NBA draft in June.

“I’ll be working out with pro trainers and strength coaches, likely in Akron, Miami and Las Vegas. I definitely want to get stronger and work on my jumper to improve my game on the perimeter. I’m really looking to locking in on improving,” Sampson said.

Sampson has been eyeing the NBA all season and it doesn’t come as a surprise that he has declared, even though his game doesn’t seem to be NBA ready.  In an interview he did with the Daily News and Roger Rubin, (link here) Sampson spoke about how he was not focused on his sophomore season because he was thinking too much about the NBA.

On Monday, JaKarr Sampson said he made the decision to declare for the NBA draft after consulting with his family, Coach Lavin and doing his due diligence by going through the NBA underclassmen process.  He spoke about where he may be projected to be drafted and said, “I have been advised that I may be selected between the late first and mid-second round…” When asked who he is most often compared to his answer was, “Because of my length, athletic ability and skill set, I’ve heard a lot of comparison to Paul George.  That’s the main one.”

Losing Sampson is a huge blow to the St. John’s Red Storm, who currently have no committed recruits for the 2014 season, and now with the loss of Sampson, will have 4 available scholarships.  St. John’s will miss his length on defense, his mid-range jumper and his array of spin moves in the post.  I have my doubts, but hopefully JaKarr Sampson proves all the naysayers wrong and has a long and successful career in the NBA.

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