On Monday afternoon, St. Johns announced that sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson would be leaving school to enter the 2014 NBA Draft. After performing impressively in his freshman season, Sampson’s decision to forego his final two years of college eligibility comes after a bit of a let-down in his second season and after the Red Storm was bounced in the first round of the NIT.
In his first year with St. Johns, Sampson put up 14.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals in 31.5 minutes per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the floor. This season, though, his minutes dropped to 29 minutes per game, causing his numbers to slip to 12.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, one block and 0.6 steals per game. His efficiency did improve though, shooting 49.5 percent from the floor this season.
As a rangy forward with length and impressive athleticism, Sampson’s biggest asset at the NBA level is his potential as a defender. He can defend bigger guys with his length and make things difficult when he gets taken into the post, but can also create turnovers and cut off driving and passing lanes with that length on the perimeter as well.
However, this decision seems like a poor one on the part of Sampson. There’s a possibility that he could be taken in the second round, but there are plenty of mock drafts right now that don’t have him being selected at all. In fact, DraftExpress has him barely cracking their top 100 prospects for this draft, much less the top 60.
In all honesty, Sampson should have stayed at least one more year in school. The NBA-level potential is there, but it’s not fully tapped nor has it fully been on display this season. Perhaps he can come into the pre-draft combine and impress and get selected in the second round. Perhaps if he doesn’t get drafted he can impress with a Summer League invite. However, it seems that it all would’ve been easier to come by if he wasn’t leaving after his sophomore season.