Brandon Sampson

LSU lands top 50 Class of 2015 guard Brandon Sampson

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LSU let Brandon Sampson out of their back yard, but they weren’t going to let it happen twice.

Sampson, who hails from Baton Rouge, pledged to the Tigers on Monday morning. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard, who is ranked No. 41 in the country, according to Rivals, was originally committed to St. John’s, but he reopened his recruitment after Steve Lavin was dismissed by the university.

“Brandon Sampson is a big grab for LSU and head coach Johnny Jones,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “It shows that they’re parlaying a one-and-done talent in Ben Simmons by putting multiple top-100 talents around him that will likely stay for a few years. Sampson’s ability to score in bunches can help the Tigers immediately, even if he is coming off of the bench next season.”

Sampson joins an already loaded recruiting class for the Tigers. Ben Simmons, the No. 1 player in the country, will be joining the Tigers next season as well as Antonio Blakeney, a talented scoring guard that played for the same AAU team as Simmons. Arizona transfer Craig Victor, a former top 50 recruit, will be eligible in mid-December, and that quartet will be joining a roster that already includes Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby and Josh Gray.

This will be the year for Johnny Jones, which is ironic given the fact that last year was supposed to be the year.

He’s got a talented supporting cast surrounding a future lottery pick. If he can’t win with this team, will he ever win at LSU?

Four-star shooting guard’s upcoming decision an important one for St. John’s

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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.

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.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Brandon Sampson to St. John’s, four-star could reclassify, New Zealand native visits three

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Each week, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, four-star 2015 guard Brandon Sampson commits to St. John’s, 2016 four-star guard could reclassify and New Zealand big man Tai Wynyard takes three visits this week.

Brandon Sampson is huge for St. John’s

When Louisiana native Brandon Sampson gave his pledge to head coach Steve Lavin and St. John’s this week it signified a major grab for a program that has recently struggled to win big recruiting battles. As the No. 40 overall prospect and a talented 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Sampson is the kind of guard who can come in and play with Rysheed Jordan once D’Angelo Harrison, Jamal Branch and Phil Greene run out of eligibility after this season.

It also signifies that Lavin can still win major recruiting battles. Since landing junior Chris Obekpa, only sophomore Rysheed Jordan has been an impact the last two classes, with the Red Storm really struggling for depth right now.

Now with Sampson and three-star guard Samir Doughty, St. John’s is off to a nice start in 2015 and they can still add some more pieces in the next few months that will see the floor next season.

Four-star 2016 guard Bruce Brown could reclassify

Adding intrigue to recruiting this spring could be the reclassification of 2016 guard Bruce Brown to the 2015 class. One of the better scoring guards in the country, Brown can get rolling getting baskets with only a few touches and would make for another good guard, along with Kobie Eubanks, who have reclassified to 2015.

The news of Brown potentially reclassifying was first reported by Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels and UConn could be in the picture right away. The No. 58 guard in the 2016 class is 6-foot-3 and also has offers from Boston College, UMass, Miami, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Indiana.

If Brown changes over to 2015, he would might not be the only member of his class to do so. There are rumors of others from the 2016 class looking to do the same like center Thon Maker or guard Jamal Murray. If some of those guys jump up a class, it would add a lot of high-end talent to college basketball next season.

International big man visits three schools

There’s been a lot of buzz about New Zealand native Tai Wynyard in the international basketball community the last 12 months and the Class of 2016 big man visited three schools within the last week. According to Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels, Wynyard visited Kentucky, Villanova and Texas this week.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound big man is supposed to be rapidly improving and very physically mature for a junior. It will be interesting to see how this recruitment plays out and if Wynyard plays in the United States at all this spring or summer before his senior season.

Along with La Lumiere big man Isaac Humphries, Wynyard is another intriguing international big man looking to play college basketball in America.

St. John’s lands much-needed commitment from a top 40 guard

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Steve Lavin landed a critical recruit on Monday morning, as Brandon Sampson announced that he had made his commitment to St. John’s.

Sampson is the No. 40 recruit in the country, according to Rivals, and the kind of athletic back court weapon that will fit in perfectly with the uptempo, pressing style of play that Lavin employs.

“A talented scoring guard who can help replace the Red Storm’s departing seniors, Sampson has a knack for creating shots and making contested looks,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “Landing a four-star guard in a hotly-contested national recruitment is a great sign for Steve Lavin after St. John’s missed on some marquee players in the last few classes.”

Lavin really needed to get this commitment from Sampson. Four of the top six players for the Johnnies are seniors, and the two that aren’t — Chris Obekpa and Rysheed Jordan — could both end up declaring for the NBA Draft this spring. Lavin prioritized three recruits in this class, and while he missed on Isaiah Briscoe, he still has a shot to add Cheick Diallo to the mix.

But he desperately needed some recruiting momentum, and he got it with Sampson’s commitment.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Carlton Bragg’s impact at Kansas; Kobie Eubanks, Brandon Sampson cut their lists

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Each week, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, five-star 2015 forward Carlton Bragg commits to Kansas, Kobie Eubanks  and Brandon Sampson cut their lists.

Carlton Bragg pledges to Kansas

By becoming the first player to pledge to Kansas in the 2015 class, five-star forward Carlton Bragg is blazing an important trail and he gives the Jayhawks insurance if Perry Ellis or Cliff Alexander leave early. Bragg is a talented inside-outside threat with a lot of natural ability and his commitment is important for Bill Self. Now Self can focus more time and energy on the wing and perimeter and also hone on in adding a big man to add alongside Bragg.

As the No. 14 overall prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, Bragg is an All-American talent coming on board, but I’m not sure how he’ll immediately translate to college level. Production can go up-and-down for Bragg, especially if he misses his first few shots. He’s been prone to taking too many perimeter jumpers at times and settling for easy looks. Self has gotten a lot of power forwards to the NBA though and Bragg has pro ability if he can focus his efforts to producing each game.

Kansas needs someone who can come in — or currently develop — into a go-to scorer. A tough and focused guy who can get things done when the game is on the line. Bragg probably isn’t that guy. But if Kansas adds someone like Jaylen Brown or Brandon Ingram it means that Bragg is the perfect complimentary piece for the 2015 class.

Kobie Eubanks cuts his list and sets a visit

After decommitting from Baylor this winter and opting to go to Elev-8 Prep Academy and reclassify, shooting guard Kobie Eubanks has drawn a lot of interest as a high-scoring guard. The 6-foot-5 wing is considered a three-star prospect according to Rivals and he’s confirmed that he’s cut his list and set a visit with NBCSports.com.

Eubanks is still considering Georgia, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, Providence, South Florida, UConn, and Virginia Tech. The guard is also taking an official visit to Oregon this weekend as the Ducks are set to host Arizona State for a Pac-12 conference game.

Eventually the guard plans to thin out his list later in the high school season and also take some more visits. This will be a recruitment worth monitoring because Eubanks is a legitimate high-major scorer and one of the best available options left on the board.

Brandon Sampson eliminates in-state school

LSU has been on a recruiting roll with the 2015 commitments of Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney. But the recent commitment of Blakeney, a five-star shooting guard, it appears that Louisiana native Brandon Sampson is focusing on three schools, according to Ben Love of Tiger Sports Digest.

The 6-foot-4 Sampson is a smooth scorer on the perimeter and he’s particularly looking at Cal, St. John’s and USC. The No. 40 overall player in the 2015 class, according to Rivals can add a lot of instant scoring pop from the perimeter and would be a really nice spring signing as a four-star player.

With LSU landing Antonio Blakeney and Arizona transfer Craig Victor this week, the Tigers aren’t hurting for incoming talent while Sampson could really see a lot of playing time at each of the three schools recruiting him.

Cal is still looking for an influx of talent under new coach Cuonzo Martin and Sampson would be a nice player besides Tyrone Wallace in the Cal backcourt. St. John’s is losing a lot of senior firepower and could use a good guard next to Rysheed Jordan. And USC as a team is only shooting 29 percent from 3-point range this season, they could use Sampson’s shooting ability.

This should be an interesting recruitment to follow because it’s schools on both coasts with playing time to offer competing for a high-scoring player from nowhere near any of the schools involved.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Boston College, Illinois, LSU have big visitors

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Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Boston College looks to add big man as 2015 recruiting class centerpiece, LSU has a big in-state visitor and Illinois looks to bounce back from a disappointing start to September.

Boston College looks to finish recruiting momentum with a big visit

New Boston College head coach Jim Christian made a few people skeptical of his ability to recruit in the ACC when he took the job this spring.

With the previous Eagles staff owning a 2015 commitment from Jeremy Miller, Boston College already had someone in the fold who was at least interested enough in the program to offer up an early pledge.

But when Christian took over the job, he neglected to recruit Miller until after he decommitted from the program. It was a puzzling move for Christian to not even call a player previously committed to Boston College, considering the forward played for powerful local Nike EYBL program BABC and the 6-foot-9 Miller had some potential. Miller decommitted from Boston College and remains uncommitted in the recruiting process.

Soon though, Christian had Boston College fans believing in his recruiting ability as he’s landed three three-star guards in the last few weeks. Now, the Eagles will look to add the centerpiece of the class as four-star big man Josh Sharma officially visits this weekend.

Point guard Jerome Robinson and wing shooters Matt Milon and A.J. Turner are all nice additions, but Sharma is a 7-foot shot blocker with some upside to put around those perimeter threats.

If Boston College can land the No. 82 overall player in the 2015 class, it will be a really nice foundation for Christian to work with and a solid opening class, considering it was going to be an uphill battle with a new coach in a current ACC bottom feeder.

The Eagles need talent to compete in the ACC and Christian is putting together some pieces.

LSU needs to put talent around Ben Simmons in the 2015 class

Ben Simmons is the No. 1 player in the 2015 class and this week Simmons, once again, confirmed that he’s going to LSU despite persistent rumors of him playing professionally overseas after high school.

But even though the Australian is a likely one-and-done player, the Tigers still need to capitalize on having a player like Simmons already committed by putting talented players around him.

Not only does LSU need to use Simmons to help land future three- and four-year players but they need to take advantage of Simmons’ tremendous passing ability and put shooters and scorers around him that can make plays.

The Tigers are taking the first step in adding talent in 2015 this weekend as in-state shooting guard Brandon Sampson will take an official visit to Baton Rouge, according to Ben Love of Tiger Sports Digest.

At 6-foot-4, Sampson is talented with the ball in his hands and would be a great compliment to Simmons. LSU is recruiting four talented in-state prospects in 2015 between Sampson, Jacob Evans, Chad Lott and Melvin Frazier, but Sampson is the best long-term prospect of the quartet.

Sampson has claimed that he’s looking to make a spring decision, but it doesn’t hurt that local LSU is getting the first official visit among his final six schools. It’s unlikely the Tigers coerce Sampson into a pledge this weekend, but the official visit could make for a very positive first impression as LSU tries to stockpile talent around Simmons.

Illinois has two good visitors this weekend

It hasn’t been a great start to the month of September for Illinois but head coach John Groce and the coaching staff has done a nice job of getting elite talent still interested in Illinois.

Visiting Champaign this weekend on official visits includes five-star Texas 6-foot-9 center Elijah Thomas, the No. 20 player in the country and the No. 34 player on Saturday, four-star Indiana guard Jalen Coleman.

A source confirmed Thomas and Coleman’s visits and pairing them together is a sign that John Groce is committed to recruiting hard.

Losing the state’s top senior player in five-star guard Jalen Brunson to Villanova and later losing senior point guard Tracy Abrams for the season with a torn ACL was a tough start to the month but Illinois has bounced back with good talent still interested in the program.

Illinois also holds 2015 commitments to Simeon 2015 four-star wing D.J. Williams and Plainfield East 2015 four-star Shooting guard Aaron Jordan.