According to Draft Express' (DX) most recent mock draft, yes:
Samardo Samuels PF/C
21 years old; 6'8"; 240 lbs.
What we do know is that NBA teams are slowly coming around to Samuels’ draft prospects, to the point that his stock has risen in the past few weeks following some strong performances in private settings, particularly at the group workout in Minnesota where he did extremely well in front of a huge number of NBA scouts.
Samuels could be taken anywhere from the late first round to deep in the second at this stage, and only time will tell whether he ends up being a productive NBA player or a terrific undersized center overseas.
As of Friday, June 4th, DX is projecting that Samardo will fall to the Minnesota Timberwolves as the 15th pick in the 2nd round (45th overall), ahead of Big East seniors Lazar Hayward (Marquette) and Luke Harangody (Notre Dame...like you could forget) plus former Cardinal big man Derrick Caracter (UTEP...it's ok if you forgot).
I've read multiple NBA Draft sources over the past month, including NBC Sports and the aforementioned DraftExpress.com, who've all noted how much Samuels has impressed and outright surprised scouts with his jump-shooting ability, something he was never asked to do as a Cardinal. The most talked about negative aspects of Samardo's game haven't changed: What position will he play in the NBA at 6'8"? And what's up with his rebounding lapses in college that indicate either a lack of personal motivation, poor footwork or both?
One could also question Samardo's heart after the bizarre timing (and wording) of his April 19th press release that initially declared his intent to enter the draft. Does Samardo love the game? Or (cliche alert) is basketball just his way out? Rick Pitino said Samardo was leaving Louisville for the right reasons. He's also implied all along that another season at the NCAA level would increase Samuels' draft stock, especially one spent in tandem with a true point guard like Peyton Siva.
Bottom line? If you trust sites like DX, it appears certain NBA people believe in Samardo's NBA potential far more than we did back in April when he originally declared. As such, until we uncover that DraftExpress.com is run by a Jamaican public relations firm, we're taking note of Samardo's upswing with increasingly less-judgmental reaction from the comfort of our semi-anonymous existence on the internets. Furthermore, if Samardo's drafted, CardsFan922 will be purchasing his NBA jersey for every CC member who gave Samuels a vote of confidence back in April. Go ahead and raise your hands...both of you.
Tip of the hat: cardsinindy2010