COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech men’s basketball coach Steve Payne has added a new name to the 2012-13 Golden Eagle roster, with the addition of Jeremiah Samarrippas, a transfer from Southern Methodist University. Samarrippas has been granted approval by the NCAA to play to this season for the Golden Eagles.
Basketball team adds SMU transfer Jeremiah Samarrippas
“We’re very excited to have him,” Payne said. “It's a great thing for him to be eligible for us this season. He’s had success for two years down at SMU and we are excited to see what he can do for us. His style of play fits well with us and he will bring great intensity and toughness to the team. He also has great passing ability and we are looking forward to his impact for this season”
Highly recruited out of high school by multiple Division I colleges and Universities including Central Florida, Tulane, Mississippi State and American, Samarrippas said that the coaching staff at TTU was a key reason in his decision to come to Cookeville.
“I really like the coaching staff here. Coach Payne and coach (Brian) Kloman really made me feel like I could make an immediate impact,” he said. “I just felt more was wanted here than anywhere else.
“I’m also interested in the style of play at Tech,” Samarrippas continued. “I’m excited to get back into the up-tempo offense, where you push the ball and have quick transition.”
A native of Bartow, Fla., Samarrippas made an immediate impact at SMU as a true freshman, starting 30 games and making an appearance in all 35. He averaged 7.4 points and 3.4 assists per game, shooting 42.1 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from downtown en route to a 20-win season for the Mustangs.
He led the team in assists 15 times his freshman season and in steals 16 times, and finished the year ranked first on the roster in assists and steals. He also held the No. 3 spot in scoring and field-goal percentage from the floor and from three-point range.
In his first career post-season tournament, Samarrippas had a career-high 16 points against Jacksonville in the College Insider’s Tournament in mid-March, 2011.
He continued his trend of being an impact performer during his sophomore year; last season at SMU, Samarrippas started all 31 games for the Mustangs, averaging 6.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He scored in double-figures in 13 contests and logged five or more assists in 13 contests.
A proven playmaker, Samarrippas led the team in assists for the second consecutive year with 130 total, ranked third in steals with 32 and fourth in scoring. He logged the first double-double with points and assists for SMU (12-11 on January 25 at Tulane) since 2010.
For the season, he shot 32.4 percent from behind the arc and finished the year ranked fifth in Conference USA in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. Samarrippas hit a buzzer-beater on January 7, 2012 -- a 20-foot step-back jumper from the top of the key as time expired to give SMU a 57-55 win at Tulsa.
His extensive experience on a DI court is something that Samarrippas believes will be an asset to his new team.
“Even though I’m transferring in, I’m a veteran,” he explained. “I’ve been a two-year starter at a Division I school, and I think I can be a leader and a role model for this team.
“I love the team already. The guys are great and really high in character. I’m clicking with the guys already, and I’m looking forward to getting settled in Cookeville.”