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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.
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Friday / July 12.
  • Brandon Sampson to Visit St. John’s, Lists Leaders

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    Brandon Sampson, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound 2015 shooting guard from Baton Rouge (La.) Madison, will take an official visit to St. John’s sometime in the coming weeks and considers them among the schools working the hardest for his services.

    “I’m supposed to visit St. John’s in a couple of weeks,” Sampson told by phone Tuesday.

    Jeff Jones, Sampson’s high school coach, said Johnnies assistant Jim Whitesell had watched Sampson this past weekend at an AAU event in Kansas.

    “He loves him,” Jones said. “Brandon played well. I know the game [Whitesell] was at, he scored 28. Lavin texted me and said he heard he played well.”

    Sampson also said Lavin “texts me a lot” and keeps him updated.

    “He told me it’s a great environment,” Sampson said of New York. “They play at Madison Square Garden. It would be pretty exciting to play there.”

    St. John’s is targeting several players in the Class of 2015, including Sampson, Roselle Catholic guard Isaiah Briscoe, Brewster Academy guard Donovan Mitchell, Our Savior New American big man Cheick Diallo and Wings Academy center Jessie Govan, among others.

    Lavin previously recruited Louisiana natives Rico Gathers (Baylor) and Jarell Martin (LSU), but neither ended up in New York.

    “They told me when they went to visit, they liked the visit,” Sampson said. “They told me coach Lavin was a real cool guy.”

    Sampson said he also lists Arizona, LSU, Texas A&M and Mississippi State among those recruiting him the hardest.

    Jones said coaches from Arizona, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M also watched Sampson this weekend.

    “They’ve probably been on him the hardest,” Jones said.

    Jones also said Sampson would likely take officials to Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and UCLA or USC in addition to St. John’s.

    LSU is “10-12 minutes” from his home and has the hometown pull.

    “Them being right in Louisiana, they’re always able to check up on me, like three times a week,” he said. “I can go see the campus any time I want.”

    Asked if it would be appealing to play there, he said, “I’m thinking about it.”

    Still, Sampson said, “I’m still open” and he doesn’t plan on cutting his list until later this summer.

    “I’m hoping to get a couple more offers and then I’m going to cut my list,” he said.

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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.

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