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.
After a long month on the AAU circuit, JaKarr Sampson has a list of his Top 3 schools going forward.
“Baylor, Kansas and St. John’s,” the 6-foot-8, 193-pound forward from Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary said Sunday night.
Don Anderson, Sampson’s AAU coach, added Louisville in the group of schools that Sampson will visit “for sure.”
“Baylor’s been consistent, they’re going to get a visit,” Anderson said. “St. John’s has been consistent, they’re going to get a visit. Kansas and Louisville. That leaves one more that he hasn’t figured out yet.”
Sampson is still considering other schools, including Xavier, Dayton, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Ohio State and Miami. Anderson said Tennessee has also recently come into the picture.
“You look up and see Bruce Pearl front and center at all his games” this summer, Anderson said.
Anderson said Sampson has taken unofficials to Dayton, Cincinnati and Michigan State.
“I’m gonna try and cut that list down and take five official visits,” Sampson said.
Of the Big East school, he said: “I would say St. John’s is in my top three. I really like St. John’s, actually. It will fit my playing style. They’re rebuilding their program.”
Sampson attended St. John’s skills and development camp in June, along with his mother, Dawnette Epps, and said he’s seriously considering the Johnnies.
Steve Lavin’s staff has 10 scholarships to give for 2011 and Sampson is one of several elite players they are targeting, along with 6-8 Norvel Pelle, the No. 4 center in the Class out of Compton (Calif.).
“I like his playing style,” Sampson said of Pelle. “If he [Lavin] can get him down there that would be a nice recruiting class.”
Sampson was a focus of attention at the LeBron James Skills Academy last month because he attends the same high school King James went to, and has met James on several occasions.
He was repeatedly asked about James’ upcoming “Decision” and their relationship by reporters, which grew tiring.
“It was kind of hard to stay focused,” he said. “I think I played well with him being there. With all the media, all the questions I think I did good.”
Overall for the summer, Sampson feels like he progressed and made a jump in his game. Rivals now ranks him the No. 37 overall prospect and the No. 11 small forward.
“I think I showed a lot of people about my game,” he said. ‘I made a big leap.”
Don Anderson is Sampson’s AAU coach with the King James Shooting Stars.
“His upside is scary because he can play multiple positions and he is athletic at 6-8,” Anderson said. “He will be a pro if he goes to the right college system.”
After a long month, Sampson heads home for a week before he plans to leave for the Nike Global Challenge Aug. 7 in Portland, Ore.
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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.