Shadeen Samuels is a force. The forward has evolved from a productive role player in her first two years with the women’s basketball program to a can’t-miss supertsar.
After winning four state championships and being named a member of USA Today’s New York first Team All-State, Samuels provided valuable minutes for the Pirates in her first year. With three starts in 26 games, Samuels averaged 15.7 minutes, 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds off the bench for Seton Hall. From the free throw line, the Ossining, N.Y. native could only hit 58.2 percent of her shots, also shooting just 43 percent from the field.
Despite gaining valuable experience as a freshman at the Hall, Samuels needed to improve her shooting before becoming the player Seton Hall could rely on for offense.
In her sophomore season, Samuels became a full-time starter for the Pirates. She increased her minutes to 26.9 per game but could not make drastic improvements to her scoring total, which ended at an average of 7.5 points. Although there was not too much of a spike in scoring, her efficiency was much better her second season with her field goal percentage ending up at 46.7 percent. On the glass, Samuels was able to become a presence, as she averaged 6.3 rebounds a game to lead the team.
Although improving certain aspects of her game, Samuels still struggled from the charity stripe, as she could only hit on 59 percent of shots. Samuels also became ambitious from behind the third point line, attempting 29 three-point shots compared to her five in her freshman season.
This year, Samuels made the leap to become the face of the team. Coach Anthony Bozzella exhibited full confidence in Samuels, leaving her on the court for almost the entirety of each contest as she averaged 32.3 minutes a game. Samuels also became the leading scorer for the Pirates, pouring in 18.3 points a game while grabbing 8.6 rebounds a game.
Her average point total was the most by any player for Seton Hall since the 2015-16 season. It also tied her for fifth in program history. For rebounding, she also averaged the most of any player in a season since the 2015-16 campaign.
Samuels hit 72.2 percent of her free throws, a drastic improvement from her first two seasons. She also hit over half of her shots from the field at 54.5 percent, while continuing to implement her three-point game by taking 93 shots from beyond the arc and hitting 35.5 percent of them.
Samuels’ last season earned her a spot on the All-Big East first team while also being named the conference’s Most Improved Player.
The constant improvement of Samuels’ demonstrates that development at the college level can come at any point. By leading her team in points, rebounds, blocks and finishing second on her team in steals and minutes proves that with the time, the results will show.
The transformation of Shadeen Samuels has been special, and her senior season has the chance to see even more exponential growth.
Robert Fallo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_fallo.