Photo courtesy of Position Sports/Jon Lopez/Nike
By David Cordova
Just last month in IS8, the Above & Beyond squad was playing a tough Road to Riches squad at the Metro Queens Boys & Girls Club in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. In this game, there was one kid who stood out over the rest and every time he touched the ball, he was on a mission when it came to scoring.
It was on this date, that Sam Sessoms put on a memorable performance in a playoff game, scoring 36 points & helped to lead his team to a playoff win and a trip to the semifinals.
The 5-foot-10 point guard from West Philadelphia, is a talented gem who can score, but also dish to teammates efficiently and also plays with the Philly-style toughness.
“I get my motivation from the environment that I grew up in,” says Sessoms, “In West Philly, that’s all we do is play ball, day and night. That’s what we believe, that’s it.”
When asked to provide insight on playing basketball in the city of Philadelphia, he replied, “Philly basketball, it’s like similar to New York. We got the grit, I’m speaking on behalf of the guards, we got the grit, just the heart, we’re just like little dawgs out there [on the court].”
Many kids from the Philly area either play for the public schools, the Philadelphia Catholic League or for one of the schools in the Friends League in the suburbs. Sessoms chose the latter as an option, as he decided to attend the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr.
When asked why he chose to attend Shipley, Sessoms replied, “Academics. Growing up in schools in West Philly, I was always at the top of my class and I was always good at basketball. I had plenty of options coming out of middle school as far as Neumann-Goretti, Roman Catholic, like all of the historically good schools in Philly, but I chose to take the academic route, be different and put Shipley on the map. And that’s what I did after four years.”
In four years at Shipley, Sessoms made his mark on the area, scoring 2,091 points, which made him the all-time leading scorer in the school’s history. This past season as a senior, he averaged 28.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. For his efforts, he made the Pennsylvania All-State First Team.
When looking back at his four years at the Shipley School, he replied, “Shipley was a great experience. Being around them types of people, that’s different from what you’d normally see in your environment and like your neighborhood, it just makes you mature a lot faster and make you a lot smarter as human being. They just helped me build a better character overall.”
Also in his high school days, Sessoms played for Team Final on the Nike EYBL circuit. Last summer, he averaged 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, as he helped lead them to the Peach Jam play-in game.
When asked about that experience, he said, “I mean, it was a great experience. My 17U summer didn’t go as I planned, but, it was a good experience being with McDonald’s All-Americans like Cam Reddish and Louis King, playing against top competition, going head to head with the top guys around the country, so it was just a good experience and that’s something I’ll remember like, for years.”
When in Philly, he always held his own at one of the city’s most prestigious summer tournaments, the Chosen League. When asked about playing at the battleground for high school players, Sessoms replied, “Chosen League, that’s one of the historic leagues in Philadelphia. That’s where the best in the city come out. It’s like a similar court to IS8, like a small court, so really, you have to have a crazy skill set. But it’s a historically, great playground league.”
In July 2017, Sessoms chose to attend Binghamton University, where he will begin his freshman year. The Bearcats are in the American East Conference, but have been a struggling program as of late. Last season, the program went through an 11-20 record under Tommy Dempsey, who will be entering his seventh season as coach.
However, Sessoms is optimistic that he can and will turn the Bearcats fortunes around. “Honestly, it was like the whole college [recruitment] process is long. I’ve never been the type of dude to want to go to a certain place just because it looks good, like some dudes who want to wait get that right school, but my goal was to just get a free education, and that was my goal from day one. As soon as I got them, I committed real early, because I didn’t want to go through the process [of waiting it out]. I felt like I could go there and make a change, by the time I leave Binghamton, I know I’ll be one of the best players that’s going to be there, to make a change.”
Now that he’s gotten the school of his choice, all Sessoms has to look forward to now is leading the Bearcats to a great season, and hopefully their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009, which was their only appearance since joining Division I in 2001.
On what to expect from him in the America East Conference next season, Sessoms said, “Freshman Rookie of the Year, NCAA Tournament berth, might sneak around get a Round of 64 win in there. All jokes aside, I’m definitely aiming for the Rookie of the Year, and make sure my team improves, like I don’t how many games we won this year, but next year, I want to increase that, increase every category I can and come in and help right away.”
And if he brings in the type of performance that he did at IS8, look out, America East. This kid will take the conference by storm.
Highlights of Sam Sessoms:
Courtesy of Raw Sports Films.
Courtesy of Raw Sports Films.
Courtesy of Courtside Films.
Courtesy of BLF Sports.