Madison Prep guard Brandon Sampson always seems to be at his best when navigating his way around an open court. An open recruiting process is what’s next for the 6-foot-5 senior guard.
Both Sampson and MPA coach Jeff Jones said Sampson will reopen his recruiting after St. John’s opted to part ways with coach Steve Lavin on Friday.
Sampson, who led the Chargers to the Class 1A state title earlier this month, committed to the Red Storm in January and had planned to sign in April. Lavin coached five seasons at St. John’s and garnered two NCAA tournament berths, including one this season.
“I had heard some things and knew (Lavin’s exit) could happen,” Sampson said. “I’m not really thinking about specific schools or anything like that. I’ve got to take some time and look at it and see what’s best for me.
“I want a school that puts an emphasis on player development and helps get keys ready for the next level. The chance to start or play a lot next year is important to me, too.”
Jones added, “This changes things, definitely. We’ve talked once already and we’re going to sit down and talk more. Brandon is going reopen his recruiting, and we’ll see where it goes.
“He’s academically qualified. And he has some time. I don’t expect him to sign in April unless there’s something out there he really decides he likes. It might be June before he decides.”
Sampson averaged 15.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists to lead a balanced attack as Madison Prep won the Class 1A state title two weeks ago. He was voted Class 1A MVP by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. He was rated Louisiana’s top senior prospect going into the season and seldom played more than 16 to 20 minutes per game because the Chargers won many games by 30 points or more.
Sampson, who was rated No. 32 in ESPN’s list of the nation’s top 100 recruits, made official visits to St. John’s, California, Southern California and LSU last fall. Jones said LSU was among the group of schools that contacted him Friday about Sampson, but the Tigers have a stockpile of guards and have added two of the nation’s top prospects in Benny Simmons and Antonio Blakeney.
Jones isn’t sure Sampson’s status will change even though another ex-MPA player, Jarell Martin, is opting to enter the NBA draft after two years at LSU.
“Brandon has been very consistent throughout his recruitment,” Jones said. “He’s said all along that he’s looking for a Division I program where he has the chance to play significant minutes as a freshman. He is going to take some time and consider all the options he has.”