Most of America was pulling for Robert Morris in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament when the 15th-seeded Colonials nearly knocked off No. 2 Villanova. When Robert Morris’ upset bid came up short, nobody was more disappointed than Lamount Samuell, Jr.
“If I was there, I felt we could’ve won that game,” the confident former Boys & Girls standout said.
Now, he can help the Colonials make more March memories.
The 6-foot-4 guard verbally committed to the two-time Northeast Conference champions on April 14. Samuell planned to sign his National Letter of Intent before the week was up.
“It felt like home, like being at Boys & Girls,” Samuell said of his visit. “It’s not like a big campus. I like the Pittsburgh area.”
After leading Boys & Girls to the PSAL Class AA semifinals as a senior, Samuel spent a postgraduate year at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.), improving his game and raising his stock.
Samuell drew interest from higher profile programs like Seton Hall and Canisius of the Big East and MAAC, respectively, but felt comfortable with Robert Morris. Samuell developed a bond with head coach Mike Rice and assistant Andy Toole, his lead recruiter.
“Out of all the schools, they were really staying on top of me, always calling me,” Samuell said. “I felt like I could go in and be an impact player as a freshman. I can get some quality minutes and take us back to the tournament and my mother can come see me play.”
During his recruitment in high school, Samuell often talked about such an opportunity, Boys & Girls coach Ruth Lovelace said. Whereas other players wanted to go to a school that played on national television or had a ready-made name, he wanted something different.
“He wanted to be able to make a difference and be able to play,” she said. “It’s absolutely what Lamount wanted. He made a great choice.”
Notre Dame coach Ryan Hurd lauded Samuell for his toughness, versatile skill set and unselfishness. He had his career high of 28 points against Hardgrave 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).
“The kid has absolutely no fear and no lack of confidence,” Hurd said. “He’s going to continue to improve and he’ll be successful [at the next level], there is no question in my mind. Coach Rice and Andy Toole were very patient, they knew what they wanted, they did things the right way and they were rewarded with a fantastic player.”
Samuell is somewhat of a nomad. He spent his first two years at Robeson, left for Adelphi Academy his junior year and finished up his high-school career at The High before landing at Notre Dame. Now, he has a destination for the next four years of his life, a basketball scholarship at an on-the-rise Division I program.
“It feels great; that’s something I wanted all my life,” he said. “I worked hard for this.”