Sampson Named Rookie of the Year

Steve+Lavin+and+JaKarr+Sampson+pose+with+the+Rookie+of+the+Year+trophy.+

Torch Photo/Kieran Lynch

Steve Lavin and JaKarr Sampson pose with the Rookie of the Year trophy.

Freshman JaKarr Sampson was named the 2012-2013 Big East Rookie of the Year, which is voted on by the conference’s coaches and was announced yesterday.

Sampson is the third player in school history to win the award and the second in a row after Maurice Harkless received the trophy following his only year of college play in 2011-2012.

“This was one of my individual goals that I set for myself,” Sampson said. “This is big for me, I’m proud of myself.”
The forward racked up seven Rookie of the Week awards during the course of the season, while leading all freshmen with an average of 14.9 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game.

“Now I’m holding myself to being more of a leader,” Sampson said. I’m stepping up more and I love [this team].”

Sampson addressed questions about his future and whether he would test his NBA draft potential this offseason.

“I won’t go to the NBA unless I feel that my game is ready for the NBA,” he said. “I feel like I still have a lot of growing to do. I have a lot of room to grow, get better and polish my game.”

Head coach Steve Lavin said that he believed Sampson would return to the Red Storm next year, unlike Harkless, who held a press conference declaring his intention to turn pro shortly after the Big East tournament. Harkless ended up being selected No. 15 overall in the draft that June.

“JaKarr has indicated to me that his focus is on coming back next year and being a part of what we do as we build towards a really special season next year,” Lavin said.

While Sampson may entertain the thought of moving on, his words clearly indicated that his intention was to remain in Queens, as he noted that he wanted to take his time like he did at Brewster Academy before coming to St. John’s a year after eligibility issues.

“I wouldn’t mind coming back another year and sticking around,” he said.