Four-star shooting guard Brandon Sampson is one of the top players in the Class of 2015 who have yet to make a college choice. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sampson was at one point in time a St. John’s commit but decided to open things up in the aftermath of a head coaching change at the Big East school with LSU and Oklahoma State joining the Red Storm as college possibilities.
According to Ben Love of the Tiger Sports Report, Sampson will announce his college choice Monday morning. And the occasion will be an especially important one for the Red Storm, who are looking to fill out their roster under the guidance of new head coach Chris Mullin and associate head coach Barry Rohrssen and assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih.
Both LSU and Oklahoma State can use Sampson as well, and there’s familiarity as well with the Tigers being the hometown school and Butch Pierre being on the staff at Oklahoma State.
However from a depth standpoint it can be argued that he would be of greater importance to St. John’s. The Red Storm lost most of its rotation from last year’s NCAA tournament team, including guards D’Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene IV and forward Sir’Dominic Pointer, with guard Rysheed Jordan and center Chris Obekpa being the most notable returnees.
And the importance of Sampson to his first recruiting class as head coach is a reason why Mullin was in Baton Rouge visiting with him over the weekend.
Our own Head Coach Jeff Jones, and new @stjohnsbball Head Coach Chris Mullin. pic.twitter.com/QnyIQtJvwf
— MPA Basketball (@MPABasketball) April 19, 2015
Thus far St. John’s has received commitments from three players who will be able to play next season and a fourth in former Tennessee forward Tariq Owens who will have to sit out per NCAA transfer rules (Sammy Barnes-Thompkins reopened his recruitment Sunday). With Sampson’s ability to score and St. John’s present lack of depth, his decision is an important one for the program as is their ongoing recruitment of five-star forward Cheick Diallo (Iowa State, Kansas and Kentucky are also in the running for Diallo).
How well Mullin and his staff close these next couple of weeks will go a long way in setting the expectations for his debut season on the sideline.