Jakarr Sampson NBA Draft Workout and Interview

We recently had the chance to take in a workout of St. John’s sophomore Jakarr Sampson. Training with Demetrius Johnson and Karl Jacobson in Cleveland, Sampson went through a rigorous workout that showcased his athleticism and developing jumper. Projected as a second round pick, Jakarr is working diligently to solidify his Draft status.

Here is the full interview that we did with Jakarr:

CityLeagueHoops: What do you think that you’re going to show teams that they weren’t able to see at St. John’s?

Jakarr Sampson: I think I”m going to show them that my perimeter game is a lot better. I wasn’t really able to show that at St. John’s, so they’re going to see that I’m comfortable handling the ball and that my three point shot has gotten a lot better.

CLH: Speaking of your three point shot, you started off a little bit erratic, but then one you really focused on your form, you hit 74% of your last 25. Is it just going to take a lot of reps with you?

JK: That’s that thing: I just need a LOT of reps. I’m just getting in the habit of releasing the ball at the top of my jumpshot. A lot of reps and a lot of repetition will make things come naturally to me.

CLH: What are some of the other things that you’re looking to focus on?

JK: Definitely my ball handling and my strength. I feel like I”m getting a lot stronger and I’m putting on some good weight.

CLH: There’s a lot of pressure for players to stay on campus and finish up classes to help the school’s APR, although it in effect hinders your preparation for your ultimate career. How do you think doing your classes online and focusing 100% on basketball is helping you?

JS: First of all, I’m close to home with my family. When you play college basketball, you never really get to see your family at all. You get like two days off the whole year. I feel like I”m getting a head start. I’m not worried about school and even though I’m taking my online classes, I don’t have to deal with that stress. I’m away from everybody and now I can just focus on basketball.

CLH: Being a St. V and King James guy, has LeBron given you any advice since you’ve entered the Draft?

JS: Nope, no advice. I haven’t really been in contact with him lately since he’s a little busy.

CLH: In your two years at St. John’s, what was the most important thing that you took away?

JS: I think that I grew up mentally. I’m wiser and I”m more mature. I feel like going to college helped me learn the game more, too.

CLH: How much did your two years at Brewster playing against national competition help you develop as a player?

JS: It was big time. I feel like I made a lot of leaps and bounds by going to Brewster. I became a better player and a better athlete. Especially going up against guys like TJ Warren, Semaj Christian, Aaron Thomas, Mitch McGary…We had a lot of great players go there and I feel like it helped me a lot.

CLH: I’m an NBA GM. Why do I want Jakarr Sampson on my team?

JS: I’m a hard worker. I’m going to stay in the gym. I”m never going to start getting better. I”m always going to get better.

CLH: One of the aspects that people love about you is your hard work and your motor, which is a little more evident in 5-on-5 games. Do you think the 3-on-3 settings of private workouts are going to hurt a guy like yourself?

JS: No, not really because I feel like I’m going to be able to showcase my skills a little bit more in 3-on-3. I’ll be able to showcase my ball-handling, my decision making, and my shooting. I feel like I’ll just show my other skills.

CLH: One attribute of yours that is immediately evident is your ability to defend multiple positions. Is that something that you’ve always loved to do, or are you just learning to love it?

JS: It’s something that I always knew that I could do, but now I’m really loving doing it. I love shutting down a team’s best layer and I love guarding guards. I know it sounds kind of crazy because nobody likes running around like everybody, but I actually like guarding guards.

CLH: You played your first year in the true Big East, and last year in the new Big East…But it wasn’t the Big East. How big of an adjustment was it for you?

JS: It was an adjustment, but I feel like we were still good since we added Creighton and Xavier. We had Doug McDermott, who was an outstanding player. It was definitely different losing Syracuse, Louisville, and UCONN. UCONN won the championship, so it was definitely a change.

CLH: Truthfully, did it still have the same feel as the old Big East as a player?

JS: It didn’t. The Big East was The Big East. Louisville, Syracuse, UCONN…There’s a lot of tradition, a lot of history. It was not the same.

CLH: Speaking of the new Big East, what was it like guarding Doug McDermott?

JS: It was so hard not giving him space. You cannot give Doug McDermott space because that’s what he likes. You have to crowd him and make him put the ball on the floor. He’s so versatile, so as an athletic person, your best chance is to make him put the ball on the floor.

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Robert Johnson is IU’s next up from the DMV

Indiana is going through a bit of a roster upheaval and with assistant coach Kenny Johnson leaving today for Louisville, the Hoosiers took another blow. On the bright side, they have quite the recruiting class coming in, with one of the key pieces being DMV product Robert Johnson.

Standing 6-foot-3, Johnson has the size to play either guard position for the Hoosiers. He is a deadly shooter, both off of the catch and off of the dribble. Over the last year, the Boo Williams AAU product has improved vastly off of the dribble, allowing him to create shots for himself at will. Once he created those scoring opportunities, Johnson showed off a vicious pull-up and creative finisher at the rim.

While there is still plenty of room for growth as a decision maker for Johnson, the pure talent and shooting ability that he has will allow him to contribute at IU from day one.

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Top 8th grader Marvin Bagley posters defender in Atlantic City

6’9 Marvin Bagley has taken his game and athleticism to new levels, and that was evident again this weekend at the Basketball Spotlight Atlantic City Showcase. Bagley came flying down the left wing, rose up, and dunked on a defender during We All Can Go’s heated matchup with Team Izod over the weekend.

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Jakarr Sampson throws down eastbay in NBA Draft workout

Jakarr Sampson has been showing off his athleticism for a long time at the high school, college and AAU levels. That continued yet again this past week during his NBA Draft workout that he invited us to.

Training with Demetrius Johnson and Karl Jacobson, he busted out that athleticism yet again. Jakarr threw down an eastbay off of the bounce, giving us yet another exhibit of how easily he is able to get off of the ground.

Watch out for Jakarr’s full workout within the coming days.

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Derryck Thornton picks up offer from South Florida

Derryck Thornton has long been known as one of the best point guards in a downright 2016 class, so it’s no surprise that offers are coming in on a near daily basis. Now running with the Oakland Soldiers and Simply Fundamental on the AAU circuit, the sophomore is set to receive a whole new level of exposure. That continued today with a new offer from an AAC program with a new coach.

“South Florida just offered Derryck,” his father told CityLeagueHoops via text.

The connection to USF is easy to see, as new head coach Orlando Antiqua was one of Thornton’s primary recruiters during his time at Kentucky. USF joins Missouri, Arizona, Washington, UCONN, San Diego State, UNLV, and an abundance of other programs that have placed scholarships on the line for this elite playmaker that we will certainly be covering this spring on the AAU circuit.

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2014 Ketucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic Day 1 Practice Recap

As the high school all-star circuit comes to a conclusion, Under Armour has thrown it’s hat in with the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic. Better known as the Derby Classic, the game is held in Louisville each year and the local faithful come out in the masses to support the players attending local colleges such as Louisville, Kentucky, and IU. While the Wildcats were not represented at Derby this year, there was no shortage of IU and U of L talent on the roster, to go along with many of the nation’s finest prospects.

Here are a few of the standouts from the first KDF Basketball Classic practice:

Jonah Bolden, 6’9, PF, Findlay Prep (NV)- It was our first time getting a glimpse at Bolden and lived up to every bit of the hype. He was great stretching the floor, showed nice range on his jumper, and used every bit of his 6-foot-9 frame on both ends of the floor. Bolden still needs to gain more experience playing at a high level, but the opportunity and talent is definitely there for him to start immediately at UCLA.

Isaac Copeland, 6’9, PF, Brewster Academy (NH)-‎Copeland continued the trend of getting better each time we see him here at Derby. Visibly stronger since we saw early in the season, he used his newfound strength to finish in the paint while maintaining as a threat from the perimeter. The Garner Road product will have the chance to show these skills in the Big East next year, where he should be a perfect fit in Georgetown’s offense.

Trevon Bluiett, 6’5, SG, Park Tudor (IN)- Capping off a magnificent season for Park Tudor that ended in a state title, Bluiett continued his hot streak here at Derby. He shot the lights out from deep, pulled up off of the bounce, and even got to the rack a few times. Trevon showed yet again why he has the ability to make an immediate impact at Xavier.

Romelo Trimble, 6’3, PG, Bishop O’Connell (VA)- Romelo Trimble wasn’t one of the flashier players at Derby, but he was certainly one of the more productive. The sturdy lead guard was patient with the ball in his hands, making sound decisins while also establishing himself as a scoring threat. Provided that he continues playing at this level, there will be immediate minutes for Trimble on a Maryland team that has been crippled by recent transfers.

Robert Johnson, 6’3, SG/PG, Benedictine (VA)- A talented combo guard, Robert Johnson showed why Tom Crean made it such a priority to lock him up early on Wednesday. He pulled up at the drop of a dime from mid-range, created space at will, and showed off surprising athleticism. The Indiana faithful will be out in the masses to see their future recruits this week and Johnson seems poised not to disappoint

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Jamal Murray represents for Canada at Nike Hoop Summit

Jamal Murray first burst on the scene over a year ago at the Jordan Brand Classic, but has been one of the few elite Canadian prospects not to venture over to the States for his high school career. Heavily pursued by all of America’s top high schools, Murray continued to build his reputation at the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit.

Jamal shot the ball well from the perimeter expanding and even showed range out to the NBA three point line. He was a solid running the pick and roll, both as a scorer and distributor. The CIA Bounce product has added some explosion in the past year, both as terms of getting by guys and finishing at the rim. Finishing with 10 points and 5 assists, Murray definitely seemed to be flourishing in his transition over to a full time lead guard, adding yet another reason why he is such a heavily touted commodity in the States.

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Karl Towns shows takes athleticism to new level at 2014 Nike Hoop Summit

Karl Towns has always been known as a special prospect, but he took things to another level at the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit. Never considered a bad athlete, Towns exhibited much more explosively and was vastly improved running the floor when we saw him last. The future Kentucky Wildcat drained threes, passed the ball well and finished in the paint with an array of hooks, dunks, and floaters. To top things off, he measured incredibly well for a center prospect. At 7’0 and 248 pounds, Towns owns a 7’4 wingspan and 9’5 standing reach that will be essential for “walling up” on defense at the next level.

Once the game rolled around, Towns battled foul trouble, but still managed to finish with 6 points and 8 rebounds to cap off an outstanding week of basketball.

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2014 Phenom Hoop Challenge Day 3 Recap

The final day of the Phenom Hoop Challenge kicked off bright and early with one of the most hyped matchups of the event. The Karolina Diamonds and Showtime Ballers squared off in a game that had no shortage of cameras, as well as no shortage of excitement. Corey Sanders hit a lay-up at the buzzer to give Showtime the win, en route to a championship game run.

An outstanding weekend of hoops ended with the following championship games:
15U: CP3 All-Stars
16U: CP3 All-Stars
17U: West Virginia Wildcats

Here are a few of the players who stood out:

Lavar Batts, 6’1, PG, CP3 All-Stars 15U, 2017- Right there in the conversation for best freshman in the state with JJ Smith, Batts showed that he could carry over his dominance at the highest level of AAU. Previously playing with the local Carrabus Stars, He made the move over to the EYBL squad and fit in immediately. The freshman controlled the tempo of the game, got in the lane at will, and was simply special converting with either hand.

Karl Gamble, 6’9, PF, Upward Stars, 2015- An incredibly skilled big man, Gamble was one of the bigger surprises at PHC. He was deadly attacking from the elbows, used his length to bother opponents, and showed great coordination on the blocks. With interest from many SoCon teams, it’s a near certainty that mid-major and high-major programs will be showing interest after the live period.

Quate McKinzie, 6’6, PF, CP3 All-Stars 16U- A physical specimen, McKinzie did the bulk of his damage in the paint, yet also showed that he had some skill on the perimeter. He was nearly impossible to stop around the rim, attacked the basket strong from the wing, and even busted out a sly euro-step in transition. This super long forward could go a number of ways, but could easily convert into a power wing by the time it is all said and done.

Michael Buckland, 6’5, SG, CP3 All-Stars 16U- A player who we’ve been watching since he was playing varsity in the 8th grade, Buckland has made some serious strides in his game. The sister of UNC redshirt freshman Megan Buckland redshirt freshman Megan Buckland showed that he’s not the only serious baller in his family. He showed off a silky smooth jumper, finished through contact at the rim, and showed off some really nice court vision for a wing. With Theo Pinson graduating, there will be plenty of opportunity for Buckland to truly shine next year for Wesleyan alongside Harry Giles.

Jordan Whitfield, 6’0, PG, Team United 15U- With his entire squad playing up at the 16U level, Whitfield showed that he had no problem playing with some of the region’s elite players a year up. He showed off surprising athleticism, a nice floater, and was able to keep Team United in the game. Another player who has been playing varsity hoops since his 8th grade year, Whitfield appears to be following his brother’s footsteps to the division one level.

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CP3 All-Stars and Karolina Diamonds square off at Phenom Hoop Challenge

For the class of 2016, the Karolina Diamonds and CP3 All-Stars boast the top talent that the state of North Carolina has to offer. While Diamonds coach Kevin Graves has always played the Diamonds up in the 17-U bracket, there has certainly been an unspoken rivalry between the two programs. The loss of Dennis Smith Jr. certainly hurt Graves’ squad, but he still offers a unit that blends size, athleticism, and skill. On the other hand, CP3 has ascended to become the state’s top program over the past few years and offer the most talent on paper, despite the loss of 6’10 man-child Harry Giles.

It was a matchup of teams with far different backgrounds. The Diamonds have held their core in tact for years now, while CP3 has a new cast that ranges from four different states. From the tip, it was clear that chemistry was in the favor of the Diamonds and as the game went on, that became more evident. Ultimately, while they didn’t have as much in the talent department, it was the Diamonds who were able to pull away with a 75-62 victory.

Here are a few of the players who stood out:

Ty Graves, 6’0, PG, Karolina Diamonds, 2016- The heady floor general from Greensboro Page was simply outstanding in his matchup with Alterique Gilbert, scoring 16 points. He made tough jumpers off of the dribble, found the open man in transition, and controlled the tempo of the game against the bigger CP3 squad. While Ty receives the bulk of his attention locally at this point, expect that to change as the spring goes on.

Alterique Gilbert, 5’11, PG, CP3 All-Stars, 2016- One of the nation’s truly elite sophomore point guards, Alterque Gilbert brought his full arsenal to Greensboro. The shifty playmaker got to the rim at will, hit deep three pointers, and put great pressure on the rock on the defensive end. Gilbert is already a hot commodity amongst ACC programs, with Florida State and Georgia Tech already putting offers on the table.

Greg Williams, 6’5, SG/SF, CP3 All-Stars, 2016- A Houston native, Williams made the move to Virginia at Genesis Prep and hasn’t looked back. He was tough to stop attacking the rim, showed off above average vision for a wing, and a smooth jumper to go with it. This big time athlete turned a lot of heads throughout the season at Genesis and will continue to do so with CP3.

Lonzia Tyson, 6’8, PF/C, Karolina Diamonds, 2015- The most athletic big man in the game didn’t showcase his full talents, but made a significant impact on the game. Tyson used his size and athleticism to impose a presence defensively, was active on the glass, and finished drop-offs around the rim on his way to 10 points. He keeps getting better in the skill department each time we see him and it will be scary if this trend continues.

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