H: 6' 8"|
W: 240 lbs
(27 Years Old)
|RSCI: 4||Agent: Michael Silverman ||
High School: St. Benedict Prep
Hometown: Trelawny, NJ
Samardo Samuels was a consensus top-five recruit when he stepped onto Louisville as a freshman, ahead of players like Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan, and Al-Farouq Aminu, according to some highly respect recruited services. After a solid, but unspectacular, freshman season and an improved sophomore campaign, Samuels shocked the Louisville coach staff and fan base when he elected to enter his name in the NBA Draft.
A prized top five recruit out of high school, Samardo Samuels had a pretty good freshman season in terms of how he contributed for Louisville, but his performance was more of a mixed bag from an NBA perspective. At 6í8, Samuels is undersized for a power forward, but the bigger problems are that his skill set is much more suited to play center and heís a below average athlete for either position. While very coordinated and mobile, and also possessing decent quickness, Samuels really lacks vertical explosiveness, especially when he doesnít have a running start or time to gather himself.
In terms of skills, Samuels is an extremely smart and highly efficient back-to-the-basket player, using his low center of gravity and great lower body strength to consistently establish deep post position, either pinning his man under the basket or getting inside of him and blocking him out. Once he gets the ball, Samuels shows good awareness and always goes for the highest percentage shot, usually a right-handed layup, dunk, or short-range right-handed hook shot. His footwork in the post is excellent, mixing in a rangy dropstep in addition to his mostly simple, compact repertoire. While Samuels shows a propensity for finishing through contact, problems arise when heís matched with taller players and/or ones who can match him in strength, where his limitations become very evident. With his lack of size and inability to explode up from awkward positions, Samuels has problems finishing against taller opponents, and making matters worse, his touch outside of five feet is not good at all, as heís prone to missing hook shots by feet rather than inches.
Moving further away from the basket, while Samuels shows flashes of ball-handling ability and mobility with the ball, his face-up game is troublesome, as he doesnít show near the same awareness or control as he does in his post-up game. Samuels is frequently out of control on his forays to the basket, leading to many turnovers, offensive fouls, and low percentage shot attempts. His jump shot, while showing the foundation of good shooting form, is also a sore spot, as he is very sloppy with his release, never holding his follow through and not showing much consistency with his motion. This translates somewhat to the free throw line, where he shot a solid yet still improvable 67%.
In addition to his post game, Samuels does bring another worthwhile asset to the table on the offensive end, as he has an absolutely relentless motor on this side of the court, something that shows most noticeably in his offensive rebounding. Samuels does a good job reading balls off the rim and takes advantage of his strength and mobility by frequently out-maneuvering and out-pursuing the opposition to pull down boards in a crowd.
Defensively, itís a different story in regards to Samuelsí athleticism, as his lack of vertical explosiveness doesnít hurt him much, while his mobility and solid lateral quickness help him greatly. In the post, Samuels holds good position using his strength and shows good reflexes in man-to-man defense, moving well laterally and playing aggressive while keeping his hands up to contest shots. As the center in Louisvilleís zone, he doesnít get much work on the perimeter, rarely being tested in isolations or pick-and-rolls, but his lateral quickness carries over to some of the short face-up drives he gets to contest.
Unfortunately, itís not all good news for Samuels on the defensive end, as contrary to his offensive rebounding prowess, Samuels is a very poor defensive rebounder, averaging just 3.6 per-40 minutes pace adjusted. In addition to that, Samuels is also very foul prone, averaging 4.6 fouls per-40 minutes pace adjusted, something which holds down his minutes at times. In projecting him to the next level, there are some concerns about his size and if players will be able to shoot over him, but he uses his strength in combination with outstretched hands to counter this, so he should be able to compensate for it somewhat.
Looking forward, Samuels clearly has a lot of work to do before he starts thinking about heading to the NBA, and while there are many red flags now, there is certainly hope in the future. If Samuels can develop his perimeter jumper and carry over the motor he shows on the offensive glass to the defensive glass, he will have a few things teams could find attractive, even if his post game doesnít translate. The biggest problem for Samuels is that the things his college team needs him to do are very different than what he needs to develop to improve his NBA prospects, so finding a balance will be key.
Samuels struggled at times against the team from the United States, but also showed a handful of nice moves on the offensive end. Early on in the game, he seemed to prefer to stand out on the perimeter and shoot jumpers, seeing poor results. He tends to fade away from the basket on his jumper, which leads to a flat release point and below average accuracy. When playing in the post, the big man showed excellent footwork and patience, but he tends to force the ball into bad spots rather than passing it back out and re-posting.
Defensively, Samuels needs to work on boxing out, and seems a little slow footed on his help-side rotations. He uses his body well playing man to man defense in the post, but moves slow laterally in this situation, which allows opposing big men to beat him fairly easily at times. The big man could also work on better using his body on the glass.
Thereís no doubt that Samardo Samuels will have an immediate impact for the Louisville Cardinals next season, but he must prove that he is a power forward rather than a center before we can call him a one and done prospect. He lacks the size even for a power forward at the NBA level, but his plethora of skills on the low block will certainly gain him notoriety at the collegiate next season.
Samardo Samuels did much of the same here at the game (16 points, 5 rebounds, 7-11 FG, 4 turnovers), playing extremely aggressive, constantly calling for the ball on offense, and showing no hesitancy to try post-up and face-up moves whenever he got the ball. He established dominant position and was very active cutting and in transition, leading to many powerful, open dunks. That said, though, his limitations were on clear display, as he had his shot blocked frequently in the post, as despite his good bulk and length, he is not the most athletic player, not getting much elevation off the ground. Regardless, with his relentless style of play and fairly developed skill-set, it wouldn't be surprising to see him outworking Derrick Caracter for minutes as soon as he arrives at Louisville.[Read Full Article]
After missing the first day of practice, Samardo Samuels arrived today, and it was hard not to notice, given how assertive he was on the floor, calling for the ball on every possession and showing no hesitancy to dribble the ball excessively when he got it. His dribble doesnít look that great, and itíll be interesting to see how his face-up game translates to the college setting where real defense is played, but it worked here, as he had some nice drives finishing with right-handed lay-ups. In the post, he established dominant position frequently and often dropstepped for easy buckets or got to the free-throw line, though his not so great explosiveness and athleticism in general stood out on occasion, with him getting his shot blocked twice, once by a wing rotating over. With his dominant strength and assertiveness, he is someone who could also make an impact fairly quickly in the college game.[Read Full Article]
Samardo Samuels (#2 Scout, #7 Rivals) appears to be in better shape since we saw him in Florida last month, looking a chiseled 240 pounds and with great conditioning. It was a typical performance for him on the evening, using his powerful body to bully his way around the paint, while showing flashes of a developing face the basket game. In the opportunities that Samardo was facing the rim, he boasted a nice first step for a player his size, in addition to a very low dribble, especially when going right. He didnít shoot any jumpers at all, but the few times that he drove to the cup were enough to leave optimism for his development in those areas. He also made some nice passes to fellow big man Greg Echenique, showing off his unselfish nature and excellent feel for the game. As always, it was easy to come away impressed by the way he finished around the basket, trying to tear down the rim with his powerful two handed dunks.
Even in a blowout victory, the Louisville recruit continued to play hard and showed off his great motor. It wasnít his best performance on the defensive end, although the Jamaica native was drawn away from the basket many times against a smaller Dematha team. While he still needs some work to do refining his skill set in order to reach his max potential, all of the tools are there for him to be an immediate college contributor, and one who will certainly be on the radar of NBA scouts next season.
We last saw Samuels a few weeks ago take home MVP honors at the City of Palms Classic. The future Cardinal took home game MVP honors this time out as well in leading his team to a win, but it was certainly an interesting performance for one of the nationís top seniors.
Samuels didnít start the game, nor did he appear at all during the first quarter. He looked perfectly healthy during warm-ups and was fine for the remainder of the game, so we presume is wasnít any kind of an injury that had Samuels on the bench for the first eight minutes of the game. Once Samuels did enter the game early in the second quarter, things didnít get off to a very good start for him. Riceís front court players did an excellent job keeping him off the block and denying him entry passes. The few times that he did manage to get touches on the inside, he was swarmed by defenders and stripped of the ball. All in all, Samuelsís first half stat line was an unimpressive 0 points and 3 rebounds.
The second half was a completely different story, and we got to see Samuels at his best. There is no question that he is most comfortable when playing with his back to the basket and this is when he is at his most dangerous. A couple of times Samuels was left in one-on-one situations on the block, and few if any players at the high school level are able to stop him in these situations. Samuels showed us a nice array of post moves, including a soft hook shot to the middle and a powerful drop step. Particularly on the drop step, he does an excellent job of using his strength and body to seal off his defender. Samuels was even able to sneak behind the defense on one play where he received a nice pass and finished the play with one of his thunderous two-handed dunks. While he is very hard to stop when he is right around the rim like this, Samuels struggles occasionally with these power moves when he is pushed further away from the hoop, due to his lack of unbelievable explosiveness.
A few times during the second half, Samuels stepped away from the basket, catching the ball around the foul line. Though he will take these shots when they are given to him, his jump shot needs to improve, and he didnít attempt any outside shots during the game. Samuels did however put the ball on the floor and attack the basket from this spot on the floor once. He can do this surprisingly well for a player his size, and his ball handling skills are solid, at least good enough to take other post players off the dribble. While he has shown some ability to change directions when driving to the basket, this part of his game isnít tremendously smooth yet.
Defensively, Samuels made his presence felt. He is a beast on the boards, possessing a frame that is very hard to move or get around, and a wingspan that allows him to pull down a lot of balls that arenít necessarily in his area. This also allows him to block and alter a lot more shots than a player his height normally would be able to. What he lacks in his height and overall athleticism on the defensive end, Samuels makes up for with tremendous strength, toughness and hustle.
There is little reason to doubt that Samuels will be able to step in right away and become a big time impact player at Louisville next season. He certainly is big enough and strong enough to wreak havoc at the collegiate level, but as has been mentioned several times on this site, his lack of height and tremendous athleticism will give at least some NBA scouts pause when he is ready to enter the league.
Samuels ended up being named the MVP of the City of Palms Classic, having led his team to the championship, in mostly impressive fashion. He produced consistently within the framework of his teamís offense, stepping up when needed, and making a strong case for himself to be considered the top player in his high school class, even if his upside isnít as high as Greg Monroeís.
Weíre talking about an old-school, no frills, meat and potatoes type big man. Already pretty physically developed for his age, Samuels possesses a great frame, complete with a strong upper body and a nice wingspan which allows him to play bigger than his somewhat average height. Heís almost a man amongst boys at this level, which is both a blessing and a curse when comparing his short-term and long-term evaluation as a prospect.
Samuelsí biggest strength right now seems to be his ability to score with his back to the basket. He establishes good position deep inside the paint on a regular basis, and does an exceptional job using his body to seal him man, move guys around in the post, and shield the ball from his defender. Heís quite a natural down low, showing great patience waiting for things to develop, and possessing excellent footwork, nice spin-moves, and great touch around the basket. He likes to finish emphatically around the hoop with a powerful two-handed slam, but at times lacks a bit of explosiveness to complete a play when heís a bit outside of his comfort zone and in traffic. Regardless, heís very physical and fundamentally sound and should be a 15 point plus scoring threat virtually right off the bat for Louisville.
As much as heís a blue collar back to the basket player, his team used him mostly as a high post power forward in the game against Greg Monroe, likely for spacing purposes. Monroe backed off him a good amount and dared him to shoot 18 footers, which Samuels indeed attempted to, but found very limited success. His jump-shot does not appear to be a great weapon of his at the moment, but with that said, it doesnít look broke either, and therefore could very well develop into something he can use down the road if he continues to work on it. Samuels can put the ball on the floor reasonably well, showing solid ball-handling skills for a player his size and even the ability to change directions and avoid defenders on his way to the hoop. Heís nowhere near as smooth or flashy as Greg Monroe is, but he does possess the ability to create his own shot from the outside.
Not one to force the issue, Samuels doesnít seem to have any problem being just another cog in his teamís offense. Heís a solid interior passer, as evidenced by the work he did on the high/low his team played with some decent success with Samuels in the high post and Greg Echenique down low. He has a very nice demeanor out on the court, and a calmness that can be confused with passivity at times. Heís unselfish, and is always cheering his teammates on.
Defensively, Samuels competes, and is a pretty fundamental player, but lacks some natural tools that might come back to hurt him when it will finally be time to assess his NBA draft stock. An inch or two under the prototype, Samuels does not really make up for his lack of size with freakish athleticism, particularly when it comes to his lateral quickness. He was exposed on a number of occasions trying to guard Greg Monroeís first step out on the perimeter, simply not being able to stay in front of him. As a rebounder, though, Samuels does an excellent job. He boxes out well, and has the length, strength, timing and hands to really be an impact player on the glass at the collegiate level. Heís also tough enough to step in and take a charge from time to time, and is a pretty good shot-blocking threat as well for the same reasons outlined above.
All in all, Samuels is an outstanding basketball player who should quickly establish himself as one of the top big men in college basketball once he lands at Louisville. There are a lot of things to like about him for the next level as well, even if playing in college will clearly benefit him considering how much of a physical advantage he possesses at the moment. He reminds of somewhat of a cross between Al Horford and Carlos Boozer, but his good but not great athleticism will give some scouts reason for pause until he really starts putting up numbers at the college level.
Samuels was yet again easily the most dominant player on the offensive end that the camp had to offer, as he used his power moves on the low blocks to lead his Kentucky team to a championship title in the LeBron James Winners Challenge. He was so powerful in fact that the Nike staff had to place over 300 lbs. in weights on the basket support so that the goal would stop being shifted out of place by Samuelsí dunks. His motor, which had been questioned in the past, was outstanding as he played hard throughout the entire day and was excellent running the floor. Samardo used his body excellently to shield off taller and more athletic players, and was simply a nightmare for all opposing post players in camp to guard.
For the second day in a row, Samuels was simply a man amongst boys. He has the body of Al Horford with the game of Elton Brand, minus the face up jumpshot. The Jamaican big man scored via a series of drop steps, offensive rebounds, and running hook shots, which were freakishly similar to the one that the aforementioned L.A. Clippers All-Star goes to on a regular basis. Samardo still didnít give us a whole lot to work with in terms of shooting range, but he surely has time for to hone his face up game over the next year in high school and his freshman season at Louisville. Consistency has been an issue in the past with Samuels, but not here at the LeBron camp, as heís displayed a great motor and has been the most consistent player that the camp has had to offer thus far.[Read Full Article]
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Samuels showed off a much more toned frame from the last time we saw him in the spring, as he now owns a body eerily reminiscent of current Atlanta Hawk draftee Al Horford. He uses his body and length on both ends of the floor to completely change the game. The Louisville recruitís long arms and strong lower body proved to be too much for opposing big men Saturday, as he was able to obtain whatever position he wanted on either end of the floor. If Samardo is able to keep up his overpowering style of play and improve his face the basket game, he is surely a player who will be an immediate candidate for going one and done after his first season for the Cardinals.
The best thing that Samuels has going for him is the fact that heís got another year in high school to go before he takes his game to the college level. Samuels already has an NBA body as heís easily over or around 250 pounds. Samuels is probably a bit shorter than ideal for an NBA 4 at 6í8Ē, but heís got some time to grow the one inch or more that will surely make him a top prospect in time.
Samuels has a highly developed low post game for such a young player. He initiates and maintains body contact with his defender and is adept at utilizing that contact to feel out which direction he wants to attack. Samuels shows good ability to get to his spot on the floor quickly as well, something that most young bigs donít do instinctively.
He likes to turn toward the middle on his moves most often, but showed some decent form on his baseline shot. Samuels has the step through down pat as well. He even showed some face up drive ability, but his dribble is too high and his face-up shot is not consistent enough yet at this point to make that a primary weapon for him offensively.
Samuels has deceptive athleticism for a player his size. He got up very nicely for a two handed slam which he got in traffic cutting from the elbow, and was up close to his mid forearm on the leap. His defensive footwork was very sound, which he needed to rely on as he was going against a much quicker opponent in Greene. He uses his body well to impede his opponents post play and has good timing on his shot blocks, not going for fakes. Going to Georgetown with Chris Wright and Austin Freemen would be a huge boon for that program.
Samuels would be turning heads with his thick, rock-hard frame if he was a college senior. Considering that he just finished his sophomore season of high school ball, it isnít surprising to see Samuels in the hunt for the top overall player in the class of 2008. While his loaded Metro Hawks couldnít withstand an impressive team effort from H-Squad, Samuels came out with a full head of steam, throwing down a power dunk and out-muscling his defender for an easy conversion near the basket in the opening moments. While Samuels didnít receive consistent touches the rest of the way, he still managed to make his presence felt from time to time. He plays with a mean streak that you love to see in such a young big, and runs the floor very well for all of his bulk. The Elton Brand comparisons are right on here. He might not have as high of a ceiling as some of the other players near the top of the 2008 class (his teammate, Rudy Gay lookalike Devin Ebanks, for example), but it would be an absolute shock if he didnít end up playing in the NBA someday.[Read Full Article]