Former Louisville big man Samardo Samuels has played surprisingly well for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA summer league. In two games for the Cavs, Samuels is averaging 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 minutes per game.
After going undrafted in 2010, Samardo played with the Chicago Bulls during the NBA Summer League, averaging 12.6 points and 7.4 rebounds. Samuels’ solid performance with the Bulls earned him a 3-year, $2.3 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the Cavs were one of the worst teams in the NBA in 2010-11, Samuels was considered to be the best undrafted rookies in the league.
Samardo’s somewhat successful rookie campaign didn’t carry over to this second year in the league. Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott was critical of Samuels following the NBA lockout. Scott claims Samuels showed up to training camp out of shape and unprepared.
According to Mary Schmitt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Coach Scott had a talk with Samuels following the 2011-12 season, which appears to have gotten the attention of the 6-9 power forward. Since the season has ended, Samuels has dropped 18 pounds and cut his body fat from 13 percent to 9. Samuels looks much quicker and explosive which has been a pleasant surprise for the Cavaliers coaching staff.
Excerpt From the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“I hadn’t seen that guy,” Byron Scott said. “I was wondering, ‘Where’d he come from and did we get a new player?’ His body . . . it was an amazing transformation. It was good to see that he’s obviously taking this coming season very seriously.”