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Hopewell Youth Spotlight: 8th Grade Basketball Standout Zack Sampson

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To be successful at anything in life, whether it be your job, athletics or academics, you must have a passion for it and put in the work to be good.

In sports, to really get better, it takes a year-round commitment and not just practicing during the season.

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As the great Michael Jordan once said, “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”

For anyone familiar with Hopewell 8th grade basketball player Zack Sampson know two things: 1) he LOVES the sport of basketball. 2) he’s putting in a TON of work to maximize his talent and to become the best player that he can be.

Zack Sampson

While other athletes in Hopewell are preparing for the upcoming football or soccer seasons or continuing to play baseball, Sampson is playing competitive basketball along with putting in the time by himself.

“I would say the thing that makes Zack unique, especially in Hopewell, is he is a basketball only kid,” said long-time basketball coach Doug Biega. “There aren’t very many if any of those here. You can see how the time he puts in has helped his game develop, especially on the offensive end. He has a very deliberate pace to his offensive game. Once he figures out the other side of the floor, he will really fulfill his potential. The time he puts in right now will undoubtedly pay dividends in the near and extended future in basketball.”

Zack Sampson

Sampson’s passion for the sport started in the 3rd grade and hasn’t stopped.

Along with playing in Hopewell’s youth organizations along with the junior high team this past season, Zack played AAU for Drill for Skill in the 2022 and 2023 spring season. Along with that, he played AAU for College Basketball Prospects of American during the Fall of 2023 and the Spring of 2024.

Hopewell Sports Nation had the chance to talk to Sampson about the sport and what got him started.

“I got my passion for basketball from my dad and grandfather,” said Sampson. “They both played in high school and have taught me many skills to help get me to where I am now.”

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Aside from his family, Zack gives credit to a couple of other mentors that have helped him improve his game.

“Coach K (Tim Kolodziej) from Drill for Skill. I started going to his clinics, and 3v3 leagues in 4th grade through 6th grade. I was able to learn a lot from just simple drills and learning to be a team player. He’s been a huge inspiration to me, and he never gave up on my potential. Someone else that I have worked with for over the past 3 years of AAU is my friend Chase Andrews. Chase pushes me and I push him. We play very well together and work as a great duo on the court.”

Zack Sampson

“Also, Coach Doug Biega. He believed that I could get better and become a leader,” said Sampson. “That meant the world to me, coming from him. I also too serious his comments on how and what to do in the game to improve. He has always been a person to look up to and learn from.”

HSN was able to watch Sampson compete last season with the Hopewell 7th grade team, and it was very easy to see his skill level on the offensive end of the court. The lefty was not only able to drive into the paint easily but also spot up from outside to drain 3’s.

In basketball terminology, Sampson is a three-level scorer.

“In the last year I have worked on improving on my shooting and driving to the rim,” said Sampson. “I have also been working on my defense as well. I believe that the biggest strength of my game is making a move on offense and driving to the rim or shooting from the outside. Through the years, I had to build up my confidence and believe in myself that I can be good. So, I’ve worked on all these types of shots in my backyard each day, no matter what.”

Sampson is looking forward to his last year of junior high basketball before trying to become a regular contributor on the Hopewell High School team.

“I am excited to make it to the next level of high school and play with other players that can make me an even better player and teammate.”

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