Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sampson Leaving Ohio

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According to Akron St. Vincent- St. Mary’s athletic director Andy Jalwan, Irish basketball star Jakarr Sampson (6’8/2011) has withdrawn from the school.

“We were told Jakarr has withdrawn and his plan is to enroll at Brewster Academy,” Jalwan noted.

Sampson, it’s no secret, had fell behind in his academics. According to Jalwan, Sampson’s mother felt the move to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire would be best.

“His mother felt that we didn’t have the proper academic situation for her son,” Jalwan said. “I feel bad, because we will miss seeing him around. Honestly, I think we have a fine academic program here and one where many kids have excelled.”

Sampson’s former head coach at SVSM words were a little harsher, but not directed toward Sampson or his mother.

“We will respect what his mother wants,” stated Dru Joyce.

According to Joyce, they were not completely aware of Sampson’s plans.

“Honestly, no, we weren’t aware of everything,” Joyce declared. “This is what big time college programs do to you. They never really talked to me to find out what could have been done. I lost a lot of respect for some of these programs that have been recruiting him.”

Joyce still believes Jakarr wants to be in Akron.

“I truly believe he still wants to be here, but they just tore him away from us,” Joyce believes. “These programs don’t try to keep the kids in their high schools. I have made notes on who those guys are.”

Joyce says he will still be a part of Sampson’s life.

“I will stay involved with his life, because there is more to life than just basketball,” said the Irish head coach. “I have no issue with him or his mom; they were just going off of what they were told. I have always believed when you are handed a lemon you make lemonade.”

Sampson leaves behind one of if not the best teams in Ohio, but Joyce knows things will have to be different now.

“No, it won’t be business as usual when you lose a player of his caliber,” Joyce answered. “We will have to do things a different way. I’m not foolish enough to say we can just plug anyone in for a kid with the potential to be a McDonald’s All-American and possibly Mr. Basketball. We will have to do it differently, but I’m committed to getting it done.”

The Irish were returning seven of its top eight performers from last year’s regional final outfit.

“I can see why many people had us rated high, because I felt good about who we are,” Joyce proclaimed. “We will just have to do it different. I think people will be surprised by this team. People think it’s over. It is hard to win without great senior leadership, but we will have that with DaVonte Beard, Khristian Taylor, Ricky Johnson Jr., and Aaron Carey.”

The Irish (17-7) held a 13-point lead at halftime in their regional final game against Cleveland Benedictine a year ago only to watch it slip away being held scoreless for 8:28 in a stretch during the second half of the 64-61 setback.

“We had it and let it get away,” Joyce said. “We had four or five losses last season where we couldn’t hold the lead. These senior don’t want to lose. I think we will be even more motivated now with Jakarr gone. Everyone thinks we are done now with Jakarr leaving.”

New and Notes:

-The talent is certainly not dry at SVSM with seniors DaVonte Beard (6’2), Ricky Johnson Jr. (5’9), Khristian Taylor (6’2), and Aaron Carey (6’0) returning. Johnson has committed to play at LeHigh.

-The juniors are another talented class with D1 prospect Lorenzo Cugini (6’7), Treyvon Carter (6’3), and D.J. Blanks (6’1).

-The sophomores will feature Nic Wells (6’5), Jordan Hargrove (5’11), Satchel Pierce (6’7), and Faison Bickley.

-It will be another good crop of incoming freshmen for the Irish led by Victor Dorsey (6’6), Aaron Bushner (5’9), and Angelo Cugini (6’4).

-Sampson is the fifth Ohio Class of 2011 prospect to leave the state joining Todd Mayo (Hargrave Military Academy), Chane Behanan (Bowling Green, KY), Will Weeks (The Christ School, NC) and Zach Price (Jefferstown, KY).

-Sampson averaged 14 points per game as a junior earning him 3rd team All-Ohio honors. His final list of schools includes, St. John’s, Kansas, Baylor, Louisville, and Tennessee.