Mass men's basketball coach Derek Kellogg continues his tremendous success on the recruiting trail as he announced today that highly-touted forward Sampson Carter (Memphis, Tenn.) has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball with the Minutemen. Carter stands 6-8, 200 pounds and is currently playing basketball at the Winchendon School in Massachusetts after graduating from Ridgeway High School in Memphis.
Photo courtesy: UMass Athletics
"Sampson is a young man I have known for a long time," said Kellogg. "I actually had him in summer camp at Memphis way back when he was 10 years old. I have watched him grow from a young kid to a great young man. His maturation process is something that I have watched closely. He brings tremendous versatility to the program. He is a very long and athletic 6-8 player who can play multiple positions. He hasn't totally filled out to become a complete player yet, but he has all the attributes that we are looking for here at UMass. As much as anything, I love him as a person and I think he is going to be a great addition to our program. He can be a player that by his sophomore or junior year we will really be able to rely on him to be a high-level player.
"He is very long and athletic, but can really handle the ball. He shoots the ball fairly well. He just needs to work on being physically ready to play at the college level and that's why he is going to prep school for an extra year at Winchendon. Sampson wants to be able to come to UMass and make an impact as a freshman. He will have the opportunity and I'm excited to coach him because he has the type of length and size and athleticism that fits in very well for the dribble-drive offense."
According to Scout.com, Carter was ranked the No. 27 small forward in the nation in his class. ESPN gave him a grade of 81 on its scale for this year's recruits.
Carter is in his first year at Winchendon High School, coached by UMass alum Mike Byrnes. The school also produced UMass' prolific scorer Ricky Harris.
In his hometown of Memphis, Carter starred at Ridgeway High School for coach Wes Henning. Carter was named to the MVP of the Tennessee State Tournament in leading the Roadrunners to their fourth state title with a 34-3 record. Carter was named the Memphis Interscholastic Player of the Year as he averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 59 percent from the floor including 39 percent from 3-point range. He was also named to the Memphis Commercial Appeal Class AAA First Team. Carter came up huge down the stretch for Ridgeway scoring 33 points in the regional final and 19 in the championship game win over White Station. The Roadrunners were ranked No. 24 in the nation by ESPN's High Elite Top 25.
He played his AAU basketball for the M33Magic for Ernie Kuyper and coach and most recently the Memphis Pacers coached by Eric Robinson.
Carter is the brother of UMass Director of Player Personnel Shyrone Chatman. Carter was born on Sept. 11, 1990 and is the son Alice Carter. His other siblings are Natasha and Marcus Chatman.
he University of Massachusetts men's basketball program's latest National Letter of Intent is from a player who coach Derek Kellogg knew long before he was a Division I prospect.
Sampson Carter, the 6-foot-8 younger brother of UMass director of player personnel Shyrone Chatman, officially became a Minuteman Wednesday. Carter, who can play either the wing or power forward, is listed as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. He received recruiting interest from Alabama-Birmingham, Kentucky, New Mexico and UTEP.
"I used to baby-sit for him. I didn't know then that he'd grow to be 6-foot-8," Kellogg joked.
Chatman, a 2002 Memphis graduate, was the assistant to the recruiting coordinator for the Tigers before accompanying Kellogg to UMass.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Carter is at the Winchendon School this season and attended University of Memphis summer camps when his brother was a Tiger.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Dave Telep praised the signing. "That's a heck of a pull right there. He's a live-body four man who can get out and face the basket," Telep said.
Carter fits Kellogg's preference for long, versatile players who can play multiple positions.
"He is very long and athletic, but can really handle the ball," Kellogg said. "He shoots the ball fairly well. He just needs to work on being physically ready to play at the college level and that's why he is going to prep school for an extra year at Winchendon.
"Sampson wants to be able to come to UMass and make an impact as a freshman," Kellogg added. "He will have the opportunity and I'm excited to coach him because he has the type of length and size and athleticism that fits in very well for the dribble-drive offense."
Despite the family connection, Kellogg said Carter was not a lock to attend UMass.
"You don't want to force anybody into anything," he said. "We wanted to make sure this was what he wanted, that he was comfortable here. From the minute I got the job, he was somebody we wanted to target."
Telep praised Kellogg's first recruiting class.
"It's a great foundation class. One you can build on, one you can win with," Telep said. "It sends a message to the rest of the league that they're serious up there."
Carter averaged 17 points and seven rebounds last season for Ridgeway High School in Memphis. He was named the Memphis interscholastic player of the year and was the most valuable player of the Tennessee State Tournament while leading the Roadrunners to a state title.
The Minutemen now have received three letters of intent during the early signing period, with the others from Freddie Riley and Javorn Farrell.
A fourth letter, from Woodbridge, Va., big man Raphiael Putney, is expected by the end of the week. Combined with transfers Hashim Bailey, Doug Wiggins and Sean Carter, the Minutemen will have seven newcomers on the roster next season.
Adding Sean Carter and Sampson Carter, who are not related, presents a challenge for the UMass equipment staff next year with uniforms needed for two players named S. Carter.
HILL TO SEE DOCTOR - Sophomore forward Matt Hill is scheduled to have his injured leg examined today. Hill suffered what the coaches and training staff fear is a tear in his Achilles tendon during the 80-58 loss at Memphis Monday night.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more UMass coverage, including a UMass sports blog, go to http://www.gazettenet.com/blog/umass-sports.