JaKarr Sampson is part of the burgeoning young nucleus of the Phialadelphia 76ers after he left St. John’s early, forgoing his senior season for a shot in the NBA.
Sampson, a power forward, has played in 40 games in his rookie season and has averaged 3.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 12.1 minutes per game.
I caught up with Sampson recently when his Sixers were in town to take on the Nets, and he spoke on these topics.
On how things have been halfway through the season: “Everything’s been good, I’ve been getting better and showing a lot of improvement, learnign the NBA game, just making strides…I got a few starts, getting some minutes here and there and I feel like I am taking advantage of it.”
On the fun atmosphere around the Sixers: “We are a fun group, we all get along, and that’s what’s helping us stay together through this tough time…We’ve been getting some wins, just getting better every game.”
On what has impressed him most about Philadelphia Head Coach Brett Brown: “Just his personality, period. You know, he’s a fun coach to be around. He’s teaching us a lot, he has a lot of knowledge, picked up a lot of knowledge in San Antonio, and it’s good to have a coach like that who passes that knowledge to us.”
On the young nucleus the Sixers have and if they have a feeling that they’re in this journey together: Definitely, you know, I feel like this is part of the process,us sticking together and us pretty much building together, getting better individually and as a group, and mentally and physically, just getting better all around.”
On former St. John’s teammate Rysheed Jordan and his recent leave of absence and how he is as a person: “He’s a great kid, grew up in a tough neighborhood in Philly, just a lot of struggle in his neighborhood and a lot of distractions back home. It’s tough for a kid to be away from home and be away from his family for a long amount of time with things like that going on at home, a lot of losses. I remember last year he lost three family members and friends within the year, you know, so a lot of stuff going on back home for him, so he has to keep his head up and it’s going to help him grow up and mature and he’s going to be good in the long term…He’s a great teammate, great person, great heart, so he’s going to be fine.”