Sampson, Bennington head overseas for pro hoops careers

August 18, 2013

Cody Leist

PDT Sports Writer

A pair of former basketball Bears will continue their hoops careers overseas according to a pair of Shawnee State press releases.

Recent graduates Schera Sampson and Jeremy Bennington have both signed professional contracts to play in Europe. Sampson will be playing in Poland while Bennington will be in Malta.

Sampson, who transferred to SSU from NCAA Division I Stephen F. Austin and played a season and a half for the Bears, is one of three American-born players on the Artego Bydgoszcz roster. The team plays in the Polska Liga Koszykowsi Kobiet (PLKK) — which is also known as the Ford Germa Ekstraklasa for sponsorship purposes — and were ousted in the conference semifinals.

International basketball is not an unfamiliar subject for Sampson as her mother, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, played overseas as well as maintaining a 14-year career in the WNBA before retiring in March.

Last year was Sampson’s only full year for the Bears and she made it count. She was a First Team All-Mid South selection and a Third Team NAIA All-American as she averaged 14.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, reaching a double-double on 15 occasions and grabbing a school record 350 rebounds during the season.

Nationally, she was seventh in blocked shots (66), eighth in blocks per game (1.9) as well as total rebounds and was in the top 10 in defensive rebounds (6.8) and total rebounds per game.

The PLKK website lists Sampson as the team’s starting power forward. She will look to make her debut Sept. 29 against Energa Torun.

The road for Bennington, who transferred to SSU from Southern State Community College, was involved in a more selective process as he will play for Depiro in the Malta Powerade League. Depiro was only allowed one slot for an imported player. They are also coming off a third place finish out of six teams in the regular season and lost in the fifth and deciding game of the series championship last season.

Bennington’s 16.6 points per game average earned him a spot on the Second Team All-MSC list last year. He was 39 percent from 3-point range and made 105 triples in 2012-2013. His number of shots beyond the arc made as well as 3-pointers per contest (3.5) were fifth nationally.

Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea as Italy, Libya and Tunisia are the closest nations. He will fly out to the island Sept. 2 and report to team practices six days later to prepare for the upcoming campaign.

Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or cleist@civitasmedia.com. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.