Jan. 21, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. -
For a league-leading fourth time this season, St. John's freshman forward JaKarr Sampson was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week, the conference announced on Monday.
The award gives St. John's a total of 10 BIG EAST Weekly accolades in the season's first 10 weeks. Classmate Chris Obekpa was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week last week on Jan. 14. Sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison was selected to the BIG EAST Honor Roll on Nov. 19, Nov. 26, Dec. 3, Dec. 17 and Jan. 7.
Sampson, who was also awarded the league's top freshman honor on Nov. 26, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in a 2-0 week, helping St. John's improve to 3-3 in BIG EAST play. He scored 17 points with four rebounds, one block, one assist and one steal in a 67-63 victory over then-No. 20/20 Notre Dame on Jan. 15, and had 10 points and five boards in a 71-62 win at DePaul on Jan. 19.
Sampson leads BIG EAST freshmen in both scoring (13.6 ppg, tied for 19th overall) and rebounding (6.6 rpg, 11th overall). His rejections (1.3, tied for ninth) and defensive rebounds per game (4.7, 11th) are listed among the BIG EAST Conference leaders. Two of Sampson's preseason dunks were selected as SportsCenter Top 10 plays.
Of note, St. John's Moe Harkless was a two-time BIG EAST Rookie of the Week before going on to capture conference Rookie of the Year honors last season.
NCAA Statistics Notes: Monday, Dec. 21 Following a school-record 15 total team blocks against Fordham (Dec. 8) and a combined 76 blocked shots in the last nine games (8.4 per game), St. John's leads all of NCAA Division I basketball, and the BIG EAST, with 8.4 rejections per contest.
St. John's has now bested its previous record for team blocks in a season (130 by the 1997-98 squad), as the 2012-13 team has 151 through 18 games.
In BIG EAST play, 6.5 rejections per contest (second in the league) are part of an overall defensive effort that has helped the Red Storm to a .395 field goal percentage defense (fourth) and improved rebounding (37.5 per game, fourth).
Seven different Red Storm players have blocked a shot this season, ranging from Christian Jones' three swats to Obekpa's 87.
The Red Storm is paced by Obekpa, who ranks as the BIG EAST and the nation's leader leader. With 87 rejections - an average of 4.8 per game - he paces all NCAA Division I players in blocked shots.
Obekpa swatted nine shots against St. Francis (N.Y.) (Dec. 15) after blocking 11 shots in the win over Fordham (Dec. 8), breaking his own school-record of eight blocks against Detroit in the season-opener on Nov. 13. The 11-block effort tied as the second-most prolific for a BIG EAST player in conference history (Jordan Cornette, Notre Dame, 2002; Samuel Dalembert, Seton Hall, 2000) behind Dikembe Mutombo's 12 vs. St. John's on Jan. 23, 1989.
In the 33-year history of the BIG EAST Conference, the Red Storm has never led the league in blocked shots, nor has St. John's had the individual rejections leader.
St. John's is averaging only 11.6 turnovers per game, a mark that ranks fourth among BIG EAST programs and tied for 30th in the nation.
The Red Storm, which finished dead last in BIG EAST assist-to-turnover ratio last season (0.82), is currently ranked ninth in that category and 89th nationally at 1.09.
The squad is bolstered by Phil Greene IV's 1.9 ATO ratio, which ranks 11th among all league players.
St. John's +3.0 turnover margin is fifth in the conference and 41st nationally, up from a +1.28 mark in 2011-12.
The Jan. 21 NCAA Statistics report revealed prolific St. John's numbers in several categories:
Next, St. John's (11-7, 3-3 BIG EAST) completes its home-and-home series with Rutgers (12-5, 3-3 BIG EAST) on Jan. 23, traveling to Piscataway for a 7:30 p.m. game on SNY.
Keeping the Jersey theme for a second straight game, Seton Hall (12-6, 1-4 BIG EAST) visits The Garden for a regular season St. John's home game for the first time since 2005-06 on Sunday, Jan. 27. The noon contest will air on the MSG Network. DePaul (10-8, 1-4 BIG EAST) visits Carnesecca Arena to wrap up the home-and-home on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in a 9 p.m. nationally-televised contest on ESPNU.