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Samuell finds best of both worlds in Fordham

Rarely at a loss for words, Lamount Samuell Jr. didn’t do much talking last weekend. After signing his National Letter of Intent with Fordham University, he was too happy.

“I was speechless,” the 6-foot-3, multi-talented combo guard said. “I’m going to college to get a free education.”

The former Boys & Girls standout, who spent a postgraduate year at Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.), originally committed to Robert Morris, but opted out when coach Mike Rice took the job at Rutgers. His commitment to Fordham and new coach Tom Pecora ended a long journey that included three high schools — Robeson for two years, Adelphi Academy and Boys & Girls for one — followed by Notre Dame Prep.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Samuell, who led the Kangaroos to the PSAL Class AA semifinals.

Samuell chose Fordham, he said, because of his familiarity with Pecora and the staff there. He also joins good friend Branden Frazier, a shooting guard out of Catholic power Bishop Loughlin in Brooklyn.

They recruited him at this time last year to Hofstra, emphasizing making him a better person as much as what he could for them as a basketball player. The opportunity made even more sense to Samuell, considering the academic institution he is joining.

“The coaching staff was concerned about my life after Fordham,” said Samuell, who plans to major in sports management. “That’s why I chose Fordham.”

Samuell isn’t concerned about joining a rebuilding program. He knows well of the Rams’ recent struggles — a 5-51 record the last two years and a winless season last year in the Atlantic 10 — and wants to be a part of the turnaround. That came as little surprise to Boys & Girls coach Ruth Lovelace. Samuell was the type of player who would always go the extra step. He would run extra laps or take extra jump shots.

“When you say it can’t be done, he’s the kind of kid that wants to prove you wrong,” she said. “He likes challenges. He has the opportunity to make a difference at Fordham. He’s part of trying to put Fordham back on the map.”

Said Samuell: “I wanted to play at a high-level conference, but I wanted to start my own legacy, too.”

Notre Dame coach Ryan Hurd lauded Samuell for his toughness, versatile skill set and unselfishness. He had his career high of 28 points against Hargrave Military Academy, ranked first in the nation at the time, but averaged just 12 points per game, mixing in well with fellow Division I guards Antonio Barton (Memphis), Andre Armstrong (uncommitted) and Jordair Jett (St. Louis).

“In its most simplest form, you want to put the ball in the basket, and that’s what he does,” Hurd said. “I’ve said all along with the right coaching staff and his ability to listen and learn, he’s a Big East talent.”

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