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St. John's second-leading scorer, sophomore JaKarr Sampson, opts for NBA draft

St. John's JaKarr Sampson takes off toward the

St. John's JaKarr Sampson takes off toward the basket. (Jan. 23, 2014) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

It turns out St. John's biggest loss this season didn't come in the Big East Tournament, where it failed to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. Sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson, the Red Storm's second-leading scorer and top rebounder, Monday announced his plan to enter the NBA draft.

Although he was Big East rookie of the year as a freshman and averaged 13.9 points and 6.4 rebounds over his two-year career, Sampson's move comes as a surprise because he is not widely projected as a first-round pick.

In a statement released by the school, Sampson said he reached the decision after discussions with his family and coach Steve Lavin.

"I have been advised that I may be selected between the late first- and mid-second round," Sampson said, "but the important thing is I am in the mix and I know I can earn my way up the draft board.

"Playing in the NBA has always been a lifelong dream of mine . . . I feel like the chance to pursue my dream is available right now."

Sampson is the second St. John's player to enter the NBA draft under Lavin. Forward Maurice Harkless left after his freshman year and was selected 15th overall by Philadelphia in June of 2012 and traded to Orlando a few months later.

Sampson has not yet selected an agent, but he said, "I am fully committed to the decision to turn professional."

New York Sports