football

Prep school forward is in high demand

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Because of his play, Jakarr Sampson is one of the most highly coveted players in the class of 2012. It wasn't originally his plan to be around, but he's been making the best of it.
Originally a member of the class of 2011 from Ohio, the four-star Sampson made a move to Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster as a senior and committed to St. John's.
But, the 6-foot-8 Sampson didn't make it through the clearinghouse so he's been back at Wolfeboro and back on the market as a post graduate student.
"He's been phenomenal," said Brewster head coach Jason Smith. "He was initially disappointed when everything transpired.
"Since he's been back here on campus, though, he's been phenomenal. He's been active in the community and is a great kid to have around."
Sampson is certainly a guy who impacts the game with his athleticism. However, his game is evolving and he's been Brewster's most consistent player.
"What he's doing very well the last seven or eight games is knocking down 15-foot jump shots," Smith said. "I don't think he was consistently doing that a year ago. It makes him that much more effective. He's averaging about 18 1/2 points and just under 10 rebounds a game, and has been by far our most consistent player this year."
Capable of playing at the front of the press and defending multiple positions, college coaches see a hybrid player.
"Somebody who can guard both positions and is a matchup problem," Smith said. "What he also does well is put the ball on the floor. He doesn't have the three-point range, but he's knocking down the pull-up, 12- to 15-footer and handling the ball."
For the most part, five programs have been the most consistent in their pursuit of Sampson.
During the fall, he took a visit to Baylor and according to Smith there is still mutual interest after the recent commitment of Ricardo Gathers.
Providence remains in the mix and has been very aggressive all along. Head coach Ed Cooley has handled Sampson's recruitment personally and built a strong rapport with him.
At the end of the month, Sampson will take a visit to Kansas when it hosts rival Missouri. The Jayhawks recruited Sampson out of high school as well and already have a pair of Brewster products on their roster.
Quietly, Florida has been turning up the heat. Head coach Billy Donovan was in to see Sampson on Wednesday night.
Louisville continues to be involved and has been since Sampson was in high school.
Of course, St. John's -- where Sampson originally committed -- remains a very good option for Sampson and Red Storm definitely wants him back in the fold.
A few days ago, Duke called to feel out Sampson's situation but Smith said the Blue Devils are still in the infancy stages of any potential recruitment.
In terms of making a decision, Smith says that Sampson is in no rush even with April's signing period approaching.
"I think that he's being much more deliberate this time around," Smith said. "Last time when he committed to St. John's he just took one visit and committed, and was done by September. This time around he's taking more visits, developing more of a relationship and watching more games. I think he's being more patient."
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