Top recruit Sampson commits to St. John’s

JaKarr Sampson, a 6-7 small forward from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, has committed to St. John’s on ESPNU.

Sampson is a four-star recruit according to ESPN and Rivals, and a five-star recruit according to Scout.  He is ranked as the 23rd prospect overall to ESPN, 44th to Rivals and 22nd to Scout.

He is new head coach Steve Lavin’s third commitment overall and second in the class of 2011. Another 2011 small forward Maurice Harkless, is also ranked in ESPN’s Super 60.

Sampson is the only five-star recruit St. John’s has pulled in since Scout and Rivals started rating prospects in 2002. The last four-star recruits to commit to the Red Storm before this year were current seniors Justin Burrell and Dele Coker in 2007.

ESPN praises Sampson as a “terrific above the rim finisher” and a “good shot blocker” who is capable of guarding multiple positions. They compare his game to NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen’s.

Sampson, an Akron, Ohio native, played at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, NBA star LeBron James’ alma mater, before transferring this year for academic reasons, according to The Plain Dealer.