Samardo Samuels was a highly recruited player coming out of high school in New Jersey, where he played with Cavalier teammate Tristan Thompson. According to Rivals.com, Samuels was ranked the ninth best high school prospect in the nation. While in high school, he participated in two McDonald’s All-American Game.
After his high school career, Samuels chose to play for Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville. Samuels dominated his sophomore season when he led the Cardinals in points and rebounds. After this successful season he decided to test his luck and entered the NBA draft. Things didn’t go as planned and he ended up going undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft. He was lucky enough to sign with the Chicago Bulls and participated in their summer league, averaging 12 points and seven rebounds.
After his first NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers took a risk and signed Samuels to a three-year deal. Samuels is one of two current NBA players who were born in Jamaica and only a total of six natives of Jamaica have made it in the league.
Samuels is the type of player the Cavs like; he is a strong post player and not afraid to throw his weight around in the paint. He has struggled getting playing time for this young Cavalier roster.
For a center he stands a little short at 6-9. This height gives him a disadvantage on the defensive end of the court when going up against players like Kevin Garnett, Joakim Noah, Greg Monroe, etc. His weight has also been an issue and a reason why head coach Byron Scott keeps him out of the rotation.
His offensive production has been mediocre, as he has averaged 6.4 points in his career. He does provide an offensive post presence that the Cavaliers did not have last year. When he receives the ball in the post he has the confidence, and ability, to back the defender down and get to the rim.
Reports coming out of the Cavaliers’ Summer League are that Samuels has slimmed WAY down. That may put him back on Scott’s good side. This weight loss could result in additional minutes for Samuels, even after the addition of rookie Tyler Zeller. Along with Zeller, Samuels will be competing with Anderson Varejao, Thompson, and Jon Leuer.