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St. John’s Forward JaKarr Sampson Wins Sixth Big East Rookie of the Week Award

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John’s Red Storm won their Big East leading 13th conference award of the season this week as freshman forward JaKarr Sampson was named Big East Rookie of the Week for the sixth time this season.

Sampson now trails conference legends Carmelo Anthony (10), Allen Iverson (9) and Troy Murphy (8) in his pursuit of becoming the greatest rookie in conference history, and as the freshman leader in points (14.8) and rebounds (6.6), he seems to be a lock for Big East Rookie of the Year.

Not only has Sampson been maturing for the Johnnies, who have won six of their last eight games, but he’s stepping up into a leadership role as he averaged 19.5 points and 6 rebounds last week against Connecticut and Syracuse. Although UConn doesn’t have much of a front-court, it was impressive to see the 6-foot-8 Ohio native go for 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting against one of the tougher interior defensive teams not only in the conference, but in the nation.

Along with his young teammates, Sampson has grown accustomed to a physical brand of basketball in Big East play, and have earned themselves a 7-5 record thanks in part to Sampson battling on the boards and taking higher percentage shots than he was at the start of the season.

Sampson leads the Johnnies into Louisville for a Thursday night match-up as the No. 12 team in the country is looking for a pick-me-up after their five-overtime loss to Notre Dame last weekend. With Gorgui Dieng being almost as feared of a shot blocker as Sampson’s teammate Chris Obekpa, I’m sure the freshman will bring his A-game for this Big East showcase.

For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth

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NCAA Tournament Profile: St. John's Red Storm

Record: 21-11

RPI: 37

BPI: 51

Conference: Big East Conference

How They Qualified: At-Large Berth

Region: No. 9 seed in South


The St. John’s Red Storm have been a tough puzzle to solve ever since Steve Lavin took over as head coach. Lavin has recruited like a boss, but his teams simply have not met expectations. Well, his team didn’t blow us all away this year, but it will be partaking in the 2015 NCAA tournament. It is all about those baby steps.

This is the Red Storm’s first appearance since 2011. Needless to say, the team was well overdue.


What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: D’Angelo Harrison (17.5 PPG)

Leading Rebounder: Sir’Dominic Pointer (7.6 RPG)

Leading Passer: Rysheed Jordan (3.1 APG)

Bad Losses: DePaul, Creighton, Seton Hall

Good Wins: Providence (twice), Xavier (twice), Syracuse, Georgetown


If everything comes together, St. John’s could be one of the biggest surprises of the tournament. That may be asking for a lot, though. This team did lose 11 times on the season.

If you are looking for a player who can score at will, look no further than D’Angelo Harrison. Harrison is a senior, so you better believe he will be playing every game like it is his last because … well, every game could realistically be his last. Fun fact: Harrison has averaged over 16 points per game all four years at St. John’s — he is the real deal, folks.

St. John’s wasn’t the most consistent team in the country, so it will be interesting to see which Red Storm team shows up — the one that lost three in a row at one point, or the one that started the season off with an 11-1 record.

The St. John’s Red Storm are dancing!

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Will this finally be the year that Steve Lavin coaches his St. John's Red Storm on a deep run? Whether the case, they enter the dance with some talent.

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