BALTIMORE – Coppin State guard Keena Samuels is becoming a household name on the court. The Upper Marlboro native is the team’s second leading scorer and a keystone to Coppin State’s success. Not only is she a top scorer (10 points-per-game), Samuels is also one of the team’s leaders. Samuels is a tri-captain and is […]
BALTIMORE – Coppin State guard Keena Samuels is becoming a household name on the court.
The Upper Marlboro native is the team’s second leading scorer and a keystone to Coppin State’s success. Not only is she a top scorer (10 points-per-game), Samuels is also one of the team’s leaders.
Samuels is a tri-captain and is charged with helping the Eagles stay focused during a rough transition. She is helping the team adjust to life under first-year coach DeWayne Burroughs, and they’ve played hard
Coppin State usually plays a brutal non-conference schedule, but this year has gone up against some much bigger schools like North Carolina, Syracuse, Miami and Virginia.
“Keena, being one of our seniors, is a quiet leader,” Burroughs said. “Keena is a leader by her actions in practice, during the games and off of the court. (She) has been put in a position to be the team leader, and she has accepted the position, and the other players on the team follow Keena’s lead.”
And that’s just fine with Samuels, whose playing time has grown throughout her career. When she’s in the game, the guard goes at one speed – fast – all the time. She’s intense all the time, at both ends of the floor, and takes pride in that.
“I understand the game at that pace,” Samuels said. “I can slow it down if need be, but I know a lot of my defenders can’t really keep up with me, so that’s my strong suit.”
Samuels, a former Largo High School guard, loves to go at that high speed regardless of the situation. She recently dropped 16 points in a 70-54 win over South Carolina State on Jan. 4.
During a late possession with about 90 seconds remaining, Coppin State trailed the University of Maryland – Baltimore County by 16 when Samuels got the ball in the backcourt. She then took off and raced to the basket, cutting through traffic before being fouled and getting to the free throw line.
“If Keena is not scoring the ball for us, she is doing all of the little things to keep us going,” Burroughs said. “Keena will get on the floor for loose balls and go and get rebounds. Keena continues to do all of the little things that any coach would like for a leader to do.”
That’s the way Samuels wants to be when it comes to basketball. In fact, she takes a lot of pride in that style.
With this being her last year, it’s a time of transition for Coppin State, as the team has a lot of young players plus a new coach. Samuels wants to be sure she’s helping everyone, whether it’s from the bench, in practice, or on the court.
“I’m very vocal, and I can’t not say what needs to be said,” Samuels said with a smile. “I just feel like it’s my job as a leader, as a senior, as well as a few others, to at least keep our heads up. I’m trying to go out with a bang. I’m trying to leave my mark.”