Season in Review: Samardo Samuels

July 2, 2012
by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor

Season Overview: Last summer’s Lockout was tougher on some players more than others. Samardo Samuels was one of those players.

As much as any other Cavalier coming into last season, expectations were high for Samuels – who went from an undrafted rookie to a starter in his first season with the Wine and Gold. Late in the 2010-11 season, Samuels notched double-figures in nine of 11 games, dropping a double-double on his idol, Tim Duncan, in his first start as a pro.

But after a prolonged work stoppage, Samuels came to Training Camp in less than stellar shape and, before long, found himself in Byron Scott’s non-existent doghouse.

The first two games of last season were a microcosm of his up-and-down campaign. In the first game of the year, Samuels got a DNP-CD against Toronto. Two nights later, he notched a season-high 17 points in a win over the Pistons.

The former Louisville star struggled through the next three games and found himself slipping out of Coach Scott’s rotation. It wasn’t until after the All-Star Break that Samardo finally found his footing.

In his sophomore season, Samardo didn’t crack the starting lineup and finished with averages of 5.4 points and 3.3 boards in 54 contests.

With a full offseason to work with Cavalier coaches, Samuels looks to rediscover the mojo from one season ago. He’s been working at Cleveland Clinic Courts already this summer and has reportedly dropped some weight.

The opportunity is here in Cleveland for the 6-9, 260-pounder. The only question heading into his third year with the Wine and Gold is whether or not he’ll take advantage of it.

Highlight: Samuels started out the season with a bang – registering his season-high two games into the campaign. He seemed to gain some momentum late in the season, as well – netting 15 points in back-to-back contests, including a win over the Knicks.

Lowlight: Samuels found himself buried on Byron Scott’s bench early in the season, getting five straight DNP-CDs before seeing action against the Bulls on January 20.

Odds and Ends: … We know which side of the family accounts for Samardo’s size. His great grandfather was 7-3 and nearly everyone on his dad’s side of the family is 6-6 and above.

By the Numbers: .529 … Samuels’ field goal percentage in the final two weeks of the season.

Looking forward: Samuels might be looking forward to next year more than any other Cavalier. He’s been working hard already this offseason and dropped some weight. Now he just needs to put the sophomore jinx in the rear view mirror.

Quotable: Samuels, on switching sports as a youngster in Jamaica …

“When I switched to basketball, my coach told my mom – this is what he has to do: 10 push-ups this week, next week, he’s gotta go up to 20 push-ups to build (his) body up. And I remember I was still playing both sports. So I would leave the basketball training and go play soccer. But all my friends would be like, ‘Dude, you’re getting too strong,’ They wanted to fight me because they thought I was overly aggressive, bumping them off the ball. I wasn’t doing anything wrong – I’m just a big dude!”

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