College Hoops

Sam Sessoms is Back in the Trenches and Putting College Basketball on Notice with Coppin State

Sam Sessoms is Back in the Trenches and Putting College Basketball on Notice with Coppin State

Transferring back to the mid-major ranks is something that many athletes donโ€™t look at as a positive.

Itโ€™s often a sign of limited playing time or uncomfortably. For Sam Sessoms, he had no problem with either of those. He just wanted to feel like he was back in the trenches of both his hometown of Philadelphia and the Division-I college basketball world.

โ€œFor one, Baltimore is just like my home of Philadelphia โ€” just a lot smaller in my opinion. But the area that I grew up in, the same socioeconomic status, the same violence and poverty that go on. Even the way they dress sometimes too,โ€ Sessoms said. โ€œI went to Penn State, the Power 5 in the Big Ten Conference. They got a lot of things as far as gear, fans, money and resources. I had that for two years and in a sense itโ€™s like, kids who go to the Power 5 are privileged, especially when youโ€™re comparing it to MEAC schools, especially one like Coppin State. When I committed to Coppin State it was a lack of resources, lack of fans, lack of people that are there and willing to help us. In the trenches of Philadelphia where I am from, you donโ€™t have that many resources, fans, or believers. You have to get out of the mud and thatโ€™s the kind of feel I got at Coppin State.โ€

Sessoms has had no issue adapting, becoming one of the most productive players in the nation. Through the first 11 games, he has averaged 23.9 points and six assists per game while shooting 53% from the field and 40.6% from behind the arc. In advanced statistics, he ranks in the Top 20 in three KenPom categories, including assist rate, percentage of minutes played, and percentage of possessions used.

At 4-7, he has Coppin State one win away from tying the school record for non-conference wins in a season and has CSU close to the highest KenPom ranking in Juan Dixonโ€™s head coaching career.

But, wins arenโ€™t on one player’s back.

Coppin State has a loaded backcourt and one that Sessoms thinks is one of the best that heโ€™s played with in his collegiate career.

Thatโ€™s because of Nendah Tarke. Heโ€™s has been Coppinโ€™s star during the last three seasons and continues to make strides. Last season, he led the nation in buzzer beaters, steals per game and made the First-Team All-MEAC.

โ€œI donโ€™t think many people realize how crazy of an athlete he is,โ€ Sessoms said. โ€œHeโ€™s probably the best backcourt defender that Iโ€™ve ever played with in my college career. Heโ€™s a freak of natureโ€

Of course, playing…

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