Region Roundball Review reports on Valparaiso's

Erin Sampsel

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Vitals & Stats

Valparaiso's Erin Sampsel lays in the score over Penn's Stacy Handschu last season.  Big things will be expected from Sampsel in the 1999-2000 Valparaiso campaign, especially with the graduation of last year's leading scorer and Indiana All Star, Jeanette Gray, now at Valparaiso University.  (Times photo by Sam Riche)

Valparaiso Varsity Coach Greg Kirby on Sampsel:

"Erin is a multi-dimensional player.  She is one of those gifted players who has excellent instincts for the game.  Offensively, she is the best passer that we have had at Valpo in quite a while. 

"Erin also is excellent at penetrating to the basket and making excellent decisions in that pressure situation.  Combined with her shooting ability, that certainly makes her difficult to guard.  Those excellent instincts, combined with her long arms, are also of great help to her on defense."



Height  5'11  
Position  Guard
Year  Class of 2000
98-99 Stats  8.2 ppg
6.7 apg
1.6 spg
St. Joseph's College
Rensselaer, Indiana

- Duneland All-Conference
- Times Player of the Week
- Times All-Area 2nd Team
- Post-Tribune All-Area 2nd Team
- RRR All-Area 2nd Team
- Valparaiso School Record - Most assists in a single game (15)

Some just don't get the point

Valparaiso's Erin Sampsel epitomizes the pure point guard

As girls basketball becomes an increasingly popular sport across the country, the media attention and hype our sport is attracting these days seems to go to players with shake 'n bake moves, high scoring statistics, and flashy floor personalities.  

Often, the fine art of a pin-point pass under pressure, or controlled, heads-up floor savvy of a pure point guard are overlooked by the media and others.  

Those overlooked qualities, however, are exactly what will make Valparaiso's point guard -- Erin Sampsel -- the MVP for the Lady Vikings this season.  And several Division I college coaches, who could care less about media and hype, are in the process of trying to convince Sampsel to bring her "silent, but deadly" game to their college teams. 

Leading the Region in assists per game at 6.7 last season, Sampsel was one of the main reasons the 18-3 Vikings were ranked consistently in the top five of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Poll throughout the 1998-99 season.  And even though Valpo loses its 1999 Indiana All-Star and leading scorer, Jeanette Gray, to graduation, the Vikings are expected to be very strong again this year.  


Other activities

Sampsel on the Lady Vikings

  • AAU Team - Center Grove 16U
  • Works at Brown's Valpo Velvet Ice Cream Parlor

"I think that we should be pretty good.  We only lost one starter, Jeanette Gray, but I think a couple of our girls are ready to step up."


Related articles & links


Sampsel picks...

Toughest Games vs. Chesterton - (Dec 3 @ Chest)
vs. Crown Point (Dec. 18 @ CP)
vs. Portage - (Jan 21 @ Valpo)
Toughest Opposing DAC Players Natalie Yudt, Portage (offense)
Annie Ray, Chesterton (defense)
Biggest Rival Portage 

Sampsel pre-game routine

Sampsel knows the Lady Vikes...

"I listen to music on my CD player."

Enforcer   Courtney Rosenbaum
Secret weapon   (Not sure yet)
Team cut-up   Kami Wiesjahn
"Mother Hen"    Vanessa Krysa
Up-and-comer   Lee Traynham


In last season's sectional duel with Portage, Erin Sampsel is surrounded by Portage defenders as she attempts to score.  (Post-Tribune photo by Jen Friedberg)A disappointing loss in the first round of the 1999 sectionals against Duneland Conference foe Chesterton has made these Vikings more determined than ever to make their mark in the 2000 state tournament, and Sampsel will be leading the way.

Known throughout the region as a cool head on the floor, area coaches know better than to overlook Sampsel's valuable skills.  The trouble is finding the right defender to stifle her playmaking ability.  

With a 5'11 frame, Sampsel sees the floor well when guarded by smaller defenders out front.  She makes them pay every time by changing up the combination of a low-post bullet to teammates Courtney Rosenbaum and Lee Traynham, or finding the seam to take it in for the penetration and dish.  She's a threat from anywhere on the court, so if you pack the zone down low to protect the post, she'll burn you from the arc with her trademark 3-point floater.  With her size, she can even post up with the taller defenders when flashing the paint to totally throw any defensive one-on-one strategy out the window.  

The senior's floor intelligence, the intangible that can't be fully quantified by any type of measurable statistic, keeps the defense guessing every time.  Sampsel just has it.  She knows exactly what will work and when, depending on what she sees and "feels" on the floor.  She makes the Valparaiso offense click, and her absence from the floor absolutely takes the wind out of the Viking ship sails.  So, just like last season, don't expect to see Valpo's No. 23 getting many opportunities to catch her breath during a game.

Looking ahead, Sampsel's assist average may suffer this season, as she will be expected to take on an expanded scoring role for the Lady Vikes.  But who is to say that she can't raise her averages in both categories?  Valpo posted over 56 ppg on offense throughout the 1998-99 campaign, and balanced scoring from Sampsel, Rosenbaum and Traynham could push the Vikes over that average this season.  Only time will tell.

Sampsel is looking forward to her senior year, and remembers fondly the memories she has tucked away from her basketball experiences at Valpo.  Of special importance are her memories of going to the Lafayette Jeff Semi-State in 1997, when she experienced a virtual baptism by fire as a sophomore.  She entered a close game when the Valpo point guard regulars both ended up in foul trouble. Coming of age in front of a packed house, Sampsel performed admirably for her team under pressure, even though the Vikings did not advance to the state finals.  When asked what she will miss most about high school basketball, she responds, "The close friends I've made the last couple of years."

Sampsel is undecided as to college choice at this date, but knows she wants to be in elementary education.  She credits Valparaiso assistant coach, Kathy Levandoski ("Mrs. Lev") as having the greatest impact on her life as a student athlete because "she's there for me all year round."

Sampsel is preparing mentally and physically for the upcoming season, and after last season's devastating loss in the sectionals, believes that her team can take absolutely nothing for granted.  Individual goals for Sampsel this year include repeating with Duneland Athletic All-Conference honors and being named to the Warsaw All-Tournament Team during the holidays.  Both are very real possibilities for Sampsel in her last high school outing. 

After all, it will be hard to overlook this "MVP-to-be" this season.

1-26-99 Update:  Sampsel has verbally committed to St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana. 

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1999 REGION ROUNDBALL REVIEW - This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission.