Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 10/5/11

Former Cavalier assistant coach Chris Jent may no longer be employed by the Cleveland NBA franchise, but this has not stopped him from helping improve the shot of players who don the Wine and Gold. 

Following in the footsteps of forwards LeBron James and JJ Hickson, 22-year-old power forward Samardo Samuels has reportedly spent time with Jent during the impasse-ridden offseason, hoping to improve his game away from the basket.  Per The Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer, Samuels has been working on his game for the last several months, ranging from private workouts to Impact League basketball out in Las Vegas, teaming up with the likes of New York Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups.

Within the interview with Boyer, Samuels spoke highly of being able to play alongside guys who know how to win basketball games - “Everybody can dunk these days,” the 265-pound bruising big man said, “but you remember wins.”  And while the fun and winning and high-level intramural basketball is all well and good, it is his work with Jent that could help transition Samuels from a player who contributed to a 19-win team to one who could help be a key contributor to an NBA team beyond his early-20s. 

Of Samuels’ 6.5 shot attempts per game in 2010, the rookie power forward converted at a woeful rate of 45.6 percent.  He would seemingly start games off with a flurry of dunks and physical post moves before defenses would force him beyond the block where the bottom would subsequently fall out brick by brick.  At the rim in 2010, Samuels was powerful and effective, hitting 61.1 percent of his field goal attempts, half of which were the product of assists.  Beyond three feet, Samuels’ field goal percentage plummeted to 28.1 percent, making a middle-aged Shaquille O’Neal look like Ray Allen. 

It was working with Jent which turned Hickson into a bit more than a one-trick, highly athletic pony, improving his range and thus the space underneith the basket to help implement Byron Scott’s pass-friendly offense.  The recently-traded power forward saw his field goal percentage between 10-and-15 feet improve from 17.1 percent in 2010 to 30.6 percent, a mark that bettered shooting guard Anthony Parker.  Between 16-and-23 feet from the hoop, Hickson improved his conversion rate from 27 percent to 33 percent; Daniel Gibson shot 39 percent from the same range.

Alas, if there is an NBA season to be had, Samuels will undoubtedly share time in the frontcourt with Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao and rookie Tristan Thompson.  Given the lack of offensive pedigree coming from the latter two players, the team could be counting on the Jamaican big man with the best back-to-the-basket footwork on the team to also  improve his play away from the hoop.  Entering the final season of Jamison’s contract with the team, Samuels certainly has the potential to stick with the Wine and Gold long term.  While going overseas could potentially help improve his play, his willingness to put countless hours in the gym while stateside should do just fine. 

Samuels is certainly surrounding himself with the right people.  Execution, however, is the larger piece of the pie.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vin Scully will return to the Dodgers in 2016

Rob Gronkowski’s younger brother, Glenn, trying to make NFL as fullback

Michael Bennett fined over $17K for nasty hit on Alex Smith

Cam Cameron battling prostate cancer

RG3 to be held out 1-2 weeks after doctor changes mind

LA Kings offer Peter Budaj a professional tryout

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carlos Boozer hoping roster spot opens on playoff team

Starting EJ Manuel not a bad idea for Bills’ third preseason game

Tim Beckman fired by Illinois amid mistreatment allegations

Chip Kelly reveals thought process behind Bradford trade

Charles Barkley on ex-agent: ‘I’d blow his damn brains out’

Bryce Harper doesn’t seem to care if Nationals make playoffs

Ronda Rousey makes breakfast look good in Carl’s Jr. ad

NFL admits communication breakdown in Pats-Saints game

WATCH: TJ Yeldon gets crushed in brutal goal-line collision

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

PHOTO: Enes Kanter dwarfed by world’s tallest man

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

Jonathan Kraft: Patriots haven’t apologized to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen

Ballmer declines $60M/yr TV deal, could start streaming

Nationals forced to re-issue massive bobblehead order

Jay Gruden would like the media to stop calling him fat

Spieth: New irons the reason for missed cut at Barclays?

Opening Drive: Where have all the great UM tailbacks gone?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

10 NFL players set for down seasons in 2015

Why NFL preseason games matter

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker