Sampson ready to land first recruit?

Sampson ready to land first recruit?

By Doug Wilson, H-T sports writer

April 4, 2006

Kelvin Sampson has been at Indiana just a week, but appears to have a good shot at landing his first Hoosier recruit this weekend.

Mike White, a highly rated 6-foot-6, 235-pound junior college forward will visit Bloomington late this week, according to his coach, Roy Champagne of Lee College in Baytown, Texas.

If the visit goes well, White will probably decide this weekend to play for the Hoosiers next season, Champagne said Tuesday.

“I would hope so,” Champagne said. “I think Mike is excited about Indiana and excited about coach Sampson.”

White was rated as one of the nation’s top 10 junior college players before last season and came through with a strong sophomore year in which he averaged 19 points, almost eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

“He had one to two schools in every major conference recruiting him,” Champagne said. “He had a lot of choices.”

White decided not to sign during the fall signing period in November, Champagne said, making him available now.

Sampson was recruiting White to play at Oklahoma before IU hired Sampson as its new basketball coach last week.

With IU having a shortage of returning interior players, Sampson looks to be trying to address that problem quickly. Although not tall for a forward, White is strong. He was nicknamed King Kong at Lee College because of his physical prowess.

White was not heavily recruited out of high school, Champagne said, because he weighed 288 pounds. But he became the second-leading scorer in his conference by losing more than 50 pounds.

“He’s a quiet kid, a great guy,” said Champagne, who has had several of his junior college players move on to major Division I programs. “I think he’s the best player I’ve coached in 13 years at Lee College.”