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Sunday / February 26.

St. John’s Among Those in Mix for 2015 Guard Sampson

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St. John’s has unsuccessfully recruited two players from Louisiana in the past two years.

Rico Gathers chose Baylor over St. John’s in 2012 and Jarell Martin picked LSU over the Johnnies (among others) in 2013.

But knowing that they have some heavy lifting to do for 2015 and 2015, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin and his staff are back at it again.

St. John’s is among a handful of teams in the mix for 2015 Louisiana shooting guard Brandon Sampson, the No. 57 player in the Class according to 247 Sports.

“Coach Lavin works pretty hard, him or Tony Chiles,” Baton Rouge (LA) Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones told

Asked who was working the hardest for Sampson, Jones said, “I’d have to say St. John’s, Arizona, Texas A&M and LSU.”

Once St. John’s loses D’Angelo Harrison, Jamal Branch, Phil Greene and likely Rysheed Jordan, there will be plenty of available playing time in the backcourt.

“I think they have a real chance,” Jones said. “One thing that’s important to Brandon is going somewhere where he’s the guy. He’s not really interested in going anywhere where he’s a piece or whatever. He wants to go somewhere where he’s going to have a chance to be the guy.

“St. JOhn’s could be one of those situations, as is A&M. And also he wants to go somewhere where he’s going to have a chance to position himself to hopefully make it to the next level.”

Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Georgetown and UCLA are also involved for Sampson, who has been invited to the NBA Top 100 Camp and the Kevin Durant Skills Camp this summer.

“He’s probably got a better skill-set than Jarell,” Jones said. “Brandon’s an off guard. He can do some combo stuff. He can shoot it, he’s athletic. The more he plays, the better he gets. He’s a sponge.”

Jones said Sampson will go through the process this summer and fall.

“We’re going to go through the entire summer and then take officials in the fall and then make a decision somewhere in there,” he said.

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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.