Dec. 10, 2012
QUEENS, N.Y. -
For the second time in three weeks, St. John's freshman forward JaKarr Sampson was honored as the BIG EAST Conference's Rookie of the Week, announced by the league on Monday.
Sampson, who was also awarded the league's top freshman honor on Nov. 26, adds this accolade to a total of five BIG EAST awards amassed by the Red Storm in the young 2012-13 season. Sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison is a three-time member of the conference's weekly honor roll, from Nov. 19, Nov. 26 and Dec. 3. 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.
Sampson averaged 19.0 points per game during a 1-1 week for the Red Storm, hitting at a 47.0 percent clip from the field (16-of-34) and adding 6.5 rebounds, with six of 13 total boards coming on the offensive end. He totaled 16 points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals in a 58-47 win against Fordham on Saturday. In an 81-65 loss at San Francisco earlier in the week, Sampson scored a career-high 22 points.
The No. 31 overall prospect in the Class of 2011, Sampson has begun to display his prowess with a team-leading 6.9 rpg to go along with 13.8 ppg and a pair of preseason dunks that were selected as ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 plays. Sampson's rebounding and scoring averages rank tied for 13th and 20th, respectively, among all BIG EAST players, and his 1.7 rejections are listed ninth and 103rd in the nation.
NCAA Statistics Notes: Monday, Dec. 10 Following a school-record 15 total team blocks against Fordham (Dec. 8), St. John's leads the BIG EAST, and ranks second in the nation, with 9.0 rejections per game.
Seven different Red Storm players have blocked a shot this season, ranging from 6-3 guard Harrison's two swats to imposing 6-9 center Chris Obekpa's 49.
The Red Storm is led by Obekpa, who ranks as the BIG EAST leader. With 49 rejections, he is listed third in the nation at 4.9 blocks per outing and ranks first nationally among freshmen.
Only Kansas' 7-0 senior center Jeff Withey (45 blocks, 5.63 bpg) and Arizona State's 7-2 junior center Jordan Bachynski (50, 5.56 bpg), average more rejections per contest than the Red Storm's intimidating game-changer with the 79-inch wingspan.
Obekpa blocked 11 shots in the win over Fordham, breaking his own school-record of eight blocks against Detroit in the season-opener on Nov. 13, 2012. The 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 10.3 turnovers per game, a mark that ranks second among BIG EAST programs and tenth in the nation.
The Red Storm, which finished dead last in BIG EAST assist-to-turnover ratio last season (0.82), is currently ranked fifth in that category and 43rd nationally at 1.24.
The squad is bolstered by Phil Greene IV's 2.12 ATO ratio, which ranks 10th among all league players.
St. John's +3.9 turnover margin also currently ranks fifth in the conference and 31st nationally, up from a +1.28 mark in 2011-12.
The Dec. 10 NCAA Statistics report revealed prolific St. John's numbers in several categories:
St. John's (7-3) will meet longtime interborough rival St. Francis (2-5) in the BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival at the new Barclays Center on Sat., Dec. 15. The Red Storm meets the Terriers at 5 p.m. in a tripleheader, which will also feature Michigan vs. WVU at 7:30 p.m. and Fordham vs. Princeton earlier at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available by clicking here.