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2015 target Brandon Sampson starts official visits, still open

He just keeps the Tigers hangin' on.

John Alber

Following the other side, watching a program hold its proverbial breath waiting for a local prospect can still be unnerving. But for the St. John's Red Storm, signs are more promising for St. John's chances with guard prospect Brandon Sampson.

Shooting guard Sampson, a top target for Steve Lavin's crucial 2015 recruiting efforts, enjoyed an official visit to his home state school, Louisiana State - but Sampson had a plan to not commit - and he is still making his other visits, according to

...Sampson decided not to pull the trigger on a commitment, a move (or non-move) he readily admitted was premeditated. "That was something that before I came I said I wasn’t going to do. I just wanted to see how everything is and how the system works. So it was definitely a situation where I thought about not committing before I went there."

Sampson played in an open-court run with the LSU Tigers basketball team. And as a high school star from Madison Preperatory in Baton Rouge, he's been to LSU many times. Madison Prep is about the same distance as Christ the King High School is to St. John's.

It's not as if Sampson is unfamiliar with the school.

For St. John's, California, UCLA and Sampson's other suitors, that may be a sign that Brandon is looking to leave Louisiana. Or perhaps he knows that he can see all the other schools, get elite treatment and see new places - and know that there will be room for him to always choose home, as players like Adonis Delarosa did with St. John's.

Sampson may have spoken glowingly about his visit to LSU, but his lack of a commitment - unlike a 2017 AAU teammate Cedric Russell, who did give a verbal - certainly signals that there is room for the Red Storm staff to impress Sampson with the wonders of New York City, the potential of the program and the glitter of Madison Square Garden.

The upcoming recruiting class is crucial. St. John's will need to replace their entire backcourt next season, with D`Angelo Harrison, Phil Greene IV, Sir`Dominic Pointer and Jamal Branch graduating; and Rysheed Jordan has indicated that he is looking to go pro after this season.

The Red Storm only have Felix Balamou and a number of walk-ons (David Lipscomb, Myles Stewart and Jay Henderson) returning to man the backcourt; the Johnnies have a lot of minutes available to offer their incoming recruits.