Former St. John's forward JaKarr Sampson, who was released by the Philadelphia 76ers last week, signed a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
"It's a great opportunity here," Sampson said on Monday to the Denver media. "I'm just ready to get to work."
The Akron, Ohio native will give head coach Michael Malone a versatile option off the bench. The Nuggets are a deep team filled with multiple promising prospects, but Sampson can provide defensive toughness as he normally guarded the opposing team's best player with the 76ers.
In Philadelphia, the second year player averaged 5.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 121 games played. He also averaged less minutes per game and started less outings this season compared to his rookie year. The 6'9", 22-year old forward was cut because the 76ers needed a roster slot for new coming veteran Joel Anthony, who they acquired in a three-team trade involving the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets.
According to Keith Pompey of Philly.com, the 76ers asked Sampson to travel with the team to Dallas for last Sunday's match-up versus the Mavericks. They wanted to keep him in the organization once he cleared waivers (Sunday at 5 p.m. but Sampson denied with interest buzzing in from other teams around the league.
Sampson left St. John's after his sophomore season but earned the Big East Rookie of the Year award and averaged 13.9 points per game along with 6.4 rebounds per game during his time in Queens. Sampson was apart of the Red Storm's 2012 recruiting class that included Chris Obekpa, Jamal Branch (transfer), Felix Balamou, Christian Jones and Orlando Sanchez.
While he never played in the NCAA Tournament, Sampson was a highlight machine on both ends of the floor due to his length and scoring ability. Sampson was undersized and lacked strength, yet he was a key piece alongside D'Angelo Harrison, Phil Greene IV and Sir'Domenic Pointer.