Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
JaKarr Sampson says he has an idea where LeBron James is going, but isn’t certain where he himself will wind up.
Sampson is a 6-foot-7, 193-pound power forward from Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary, LeBron’s high school alma mater.
Sampson has spoken with King James several times when LeBron returns to the high school for practices, workouts and to watch games.
“I think he’s going to stay in Akron,” Sampson said, referring to James’ pending free agency. “That’s where his family is, that’s where all his people are at, that’s where’s he grew up at.”
When the free agency period begins July 1, James could elect to re-sign with the Cavaliers — thus allowing him to stay home near Akron — or join a team with cap space, such as the Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Heat or Clippers.
Wherever James goes, Sampson and his teammates continue to benefit from his basketball wisdom.
“I met LeBron on multiple occasions,” Sampson said by phone from the NBA Top 100 Camp in Virginia. “Most people think he’s stuck up but he’s a cool dude. He does a lot of things for our school and for me. He comes back for open gyms, to watch games, practice, things like that.”
Any advice from the King?
“He told me to keep up the hard work and I can do whatever I set my mind to do,” said Sampson, the No. 13 power forward in the Class of 2011.
Sampson is currently setting his mind to picking a college.
He listed Xavier, St. John’s, Cincinnati, Baylor and Louisville as his favorites.
Ohio State, Michigan State, Akron, Tennessee and Kent State are also involved.
A report had surfaced that Sampson would visit Louisville next week, but that won’t happen because he has to attend a team camp at North Carolina.
“My coach [Don Anderson of the King James Shooting Stars] is making me go to the team camp in North Carolina so I gotta go there,” Sampson said.
Still, he plans on visiting Louisville and Baylor “soon.”
He recently attended St. John’s skills and development camp, along with his mother, Dawnett Sampson, and said he’s seriously considering the Johnnies.
“I really like it out there,” he said. “I like the city. That could be a good thing and a bad thing. I like the coaches there. I feel real comfortable around there. It’s real important for me to be comfortable around the coaches. If I’m gonna spend four years with somebody, I gotta be comfortable with them.”
Wherever he goes, Sampson believes he’ll be a factor.
“I feel like I’ll play many roles,” he said. “I can score, rebound, block shots, play defense. I can do a lot of things. I think that will help whatever school I go to.”
Said Anderson: “His upside is scary because he can play multiple positions and he is athletic at 6-8. He will be a pro if he goes to the right college system.”
As for a timetable, Sampson said he hopes to decide at the “beginning of his high school season.”
“I’m not really sure,” he added. “I want to take my time and pick the right school.”
(Photo courtesy Rivals.com)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.