news 4 days ago

Former Ferriday High basketball player achieves dream in college

The Natchez Democrat, Miss. — Patrick Murphy The Natchez Democrat, Miss.

May 23-- May 23--NATCHEZ -- Ever since Dutch Samples was 8 years old, Samples said his goal was to play collegiate basketball.

His dream came true three years ago when Coach Michael Miller gave him the opportunity to play on the University of Los Angeles College of Divinity Bears basketball team.

Samples started his career playing for the Ferriday High Trojans in 2002-06.

During Samples' high-school career, the farthest the Trojans advanced was to the quarterfinal round in 2006 in the LHSAA Class 2A state boys basketball tournament. Ferriday High played against Donaldsonville High School in the quarterfinals. Donaldsonville High won 45-42 over Ferriday.

James Davis, former Ferriday High boys basketball coach, said he coached Samples for two years.

"Dutch was a hard-working player and it was a pleasure coaching him," Davis said. "He was the type of kid that you enjoy being around and coaching."

Since graduating from Ferriday, Samples moved to California and began playing in recreation basketball leagues.

Samples said one of the leagues he played in was the California Basketball Association, a semi-professional basketball league for men and women.

In the California Basketball Association, Samples said Miller saw him play.

"My dream came true when Coach Miller gave me an opportunity to play on his college team," Samples said.

Miller is the head coach of the University of Los Angeles College of Divinity Bears men's basketball team.

Samples has played for the Bears for two years.

Jerron Wilbut is one of Samples' teammates. Wilbut said Samples is his No. 1 fan on the bench.

"He motivates me to play better," Wilbut said. "He has helped me become a better leader for the team."

In the 2019-20 season, the Bears played in the Association of Christian College Athletics national championship game against the Ozark Christian College Ambassadors.

The Bears won 97-89 over the Ambassadors.

Samples said playing in the championship game was an unforgettable experience.

"I had flashbacks when I was playing for the Ferriday High Trojans," Samples said. "I knew we had a great team and the odds were against us. We played our hard-nose defense and that's how we won the championship."

During the season for the Bears, Samples averaged six points and four rebounds.

Samples said he plans to play professional basketball after finishing his college career in two years.

Wilbut said he admires Samples for reaching for his goals.

"I think it is motivational that he has been devoted to basketball and he has not given up on his dreams," Wilbut said. "I think a lot of people can learn from that and should take that as motivation for their own dreams."

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