Howlett Lands Two More Transfers for 2022-23

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – West Liberty University men's basketball coach Ben Howlett continued the reloading process for the 2022-23 season on Tuesday with the announcement that two more transfers will be heading to the hilltop in the fall.

    Michael Sampson, a 6-4 forward from Notre Dame (Ohio), and Chaz Hinds, a 6-8 frontliner from Olney Central (Ill.) College, are the latest additions to Howlett's roster for the coming season. Both players have two years of eligibility remaining.

    "We're pretty excited to add Michael and Chaz to the mix," Howlett said. "Both young men are proven scorers and rebounders with extensive college experience and they're also great fits for our program. We can't wait to get this group on the floor and start working with them."

    Sampson is no stranger to Hilltopper fans or the rest of the Mountain East Conference as the Houston, Texas native put up some impressive numbers while starting every game for Notre Dame over the past two seasons.

    The 6-4 southpaw scored more than 500 points and grabbed over 400 rebounds during his two seasons with the Falcons while shooting a blistering 63 percent (215-of-341) from the floor. He led NDC in rebounds (8.1 rpg.), steals and blocks while ranking second on the team with 75 assists this season. He had 16 double-figure scoring games and 10 double-figure rebound games.

    Among his season highlights were an 11-point, 15-rebound night in an 82-81 upset of West Liberty on Nov. 23 and a career-high 22-point game against Davis & Elkins on Dec. 8. Sampson finished the season ranked among the Top 5 in the MEC in Offensive Rebounds, Defensive Rebounds and Steals.

    "We have seen Michael play and played against him for the past two seasons," Howlett said. "He is a high-level player who will help us in a variety of ways. He posted multiple double-doubles at his previous school so we're looking forward to the impact he will have for us at both ends of the floor."

    Following a stellar high school career at Indianapolis (Ind.) Southport High School, Hinds played at NAIA Pikeville (Ky.) as a true freshman during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season. He played the 2020-21 season closer to home, averaging 13 points and a team-high 8 rebounds a game at Kankakee (Ill.) CC before moving on to Olney Central last fall.

    Now a rugged 6-8, 220-pounder, Hinds emerged as a force on the blocks at both ends of the floor at OCC. He averaged 15.1 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds a night while reaching double-figures in the scoring column 17 times in 22 games. Hinds had five games with 20 or more points, highlighted by back-to-back games with 28 and 27 points against Lewis & Clark CC and Kaskaskia College.

    "Chaz gives us an inside presence who has two years of experience on the blocks at the collegiate level," Howlett said. "He's a big, strong post who has the skills to play equally well on the perimeter. In addition, Chaz is a high academic achiever, which will allow him to understand and assimilate our system at an accelerated rate."

    Sampson and Hinds will be joining three other newcomers on the Hilltopper roster for the 2022-23 season. Earlier this month, Howlett announced the signings of Mercyhurst transfer guard Steve Cannady, Ohio Dominican transfer guard Alek West and European freshman forward Fin Woodward, who played his prep season at Spire (Ohio) Institute and Academy last winter.

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