Wed | Jan 19, 2022

Samuels shoots down retirement talk

Published:Wednesday | June 23, 2021 | 12:07 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Despite suffered a series of injuries while competing in last season’s Israel Basketball Premier League, Jamaican hoopster Samardo Samuels said he has no plans of retiring from the sport any time soon.

The 32-year-old veteran power forward, who represented Hapoel Haifa, suffered a left-calf strain and was forced to miss the back-end of the season.

The 6’9” Samuels, whose contract with Hapoel Haifa expired at the end of the season, told The Gleaner that his agent has been working hard to find him a club in Europe. It will be Samuels’ 15th club in 11 years.

“I am working with my agent now to see where I can land next season and if I can get something somewhere, then that would be great,” said Samuels. “I have no retirement plans right now because I have been trying to push it and to get a few more years out of it.”

“I still enjoy playing. I still love it, and so I want to play a few more years before I retire from the sport of basketball,” Samuels said.

The Trelawny native, who went undrafted in the 2010 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds for Hapoel Haifa last season.

Samuels stated that he was pleased with his performance in Israel last season, and is looking forward to doing even greater things in Europe in the upcoming campaign.

“I played well this season before being injured towards the end, and considering everything that happen with the COVID-19, in my book, it was good,” he said. “Hopefully, this season coming up, things will get back to normal and I will be able to do what I do best; that is, playing basketball.”

Samuels, who had brief stints in the NBA between 2010-2013, pointed out that the NBA is now out of his mind and therefore, he is concentrating on playing professionally in Europe.

“I think that my market now is to play overseas, because I think that NBA is really ‘young’ and most of the superstars in the league are like 21 or 22, and so it is a young league and I kind of come to terms that it is out of reach for me,” Samuels stated. “I still have thin hopes, but I have to be honest with myself, and I think Europe is my best bet.”