District Heights, Md. — The DMV (Washington D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) corridor has been known as a hotbed for youth and high school basketball for many years and there are no signs of that slowing down. One of the more promising up-and-coming prospects…
District Heights, Md. — The DMV (Washington D.C.-Maryland-Virginia) corridor has been known as a hotbed for youth and high school basketball for many years and there are no signs of that slowing down. One of the more promising up-and-coming prospects from the area is Class of 2026 forward Qayden Samuels.
During a recent conversation with his coach, Keith Thomas of Team Takeover, Samuels was the primary subject of discussion. It’s fairly well documented that the Nike-sponsored program produces elite talent every year and Takeover’s upcoming seventh-grade squad has high expectations for Samuels and his teammates.
“Qayden has stayed busy during the pandemic,” said Thomas. “He is one of the, if not the hardest worker at this age, that I have seen. He is one of those twice-a-day kids and that was especially true throughout the last several months. He has really dedicated himself to improving his body and his agility.”
Samuels is known as a skilled shooter among his peers, but Thomas said there is much more to the young forward’s game than just shooting.
“Shooting is one of his best attributes but he is an all-around player. He is a playmaker for us just as much as he is a shooter. He has a great feel for the game. [He’s] working on his foot speed and agility, he is becoming a better rebounder which has probably been one of the weakest parts of his game, but he has been strengthening that part.”
Thomas went on to describe Samuels’ in-game abilities as well as how he feels his variety of skills are best utilized within the structure that the program demands from its youth teams. At the middle school level, some players’ best on-court strengths may not translate well to the high school game, but Team Takeover makes every effort to emphasize play that will help develop their players for long-term success.
“Qayden holds his own out there. He is a leader, he doesn’t just lead vocally but he leads by example,” Thomas commented. “We love to put the ball in his hands and the other guys on the team know that he is the leader of our team. He has earned that because of his hard work.”
The dedication that Samuels has displayed from a young age isn’t by coincidence. His father, Qwanzi, played basketball at The University of Missouri-St. Louis, while his mother, Shanda Greer Samuels, played at Saint Louis. Fast-forward a few years and there are now seven children in the Samuels household.
Currently, Samuels’ older brother, also named Qwanzi, is a sophomore at Florida Gulf Coast University following an illustrious high school career at St. John’s College High School where he was named an All-WCAC Honorable Mention selection in addition to a post-graduate season at The Loomis Chaffee (CT) School where he earned All-NEPSAC honors.
Thomas stated that he is already starting to see some similarities between the brothers in regard to their love and dedication to the sport.
“Their whole family is very, highly-driven,” Thomas proclaimed. “Not only is his brother pushing him but his sisters [are] as well. They are together every day, and since his brother has gone away to college, I think the whole family is even more supportive [as a] group. They are always pushing and supporting each other.”
While the support and dedication of the Samuels brothers may be similar, Thomas compared the youngest brother’s game most closely to another prominent Team Takeover alumni.
“If anybody, it would probably be Maurice Creek,” said Thomas when asked to give a comparison. “I think eventually he will end up being taller than Maurice, and maybe a little bit more versatile as a playmaker, but if I had to compare him to anybody then I would say, Maurice Creek.”
That’s high praise for a seventh-grader still a few years away from his first high school game considering Creek was a consensus Top 100 recruit nationally in the Class of 2009 before starring at Indiana University and George Washington University, however, Samuels appears to have the pedigree, surroundings, and physical gifts necessary for outstanding long-term success.
Stay tuned for more from Prep Hoops Next!