I can tell you there are kids that the moment you put eyes on them, you get a good feeling about them. They usually have a competitive nature, are coachable and most of all talented. This past Saturday I watched all that play out and more. That’s because Samantha Grella did exactly what I expected her to do on the opening day of Core Skills. She went to work from the word go and didn’t stop until her masterful day was mercifully called to a halt. It’s also why she better take time to invest in a pair of sunglasses the expensive good ones. Because her future looks really bright.
It’s going to be real easy to get lost in the ocean of talent in the 2026 class across the state in the coming years. Trying to Carve out a little name recognition for yourself is not going to be easy. Their are going to be superstar players that get missed. There going to be players whose phony rankings are not going to be worth the paper it’s written on. That’s because college coaches are going to have tons of choices. They’ll have more choices than basket and Robbins ice cream. That because the talent in the 2026 class runs deep as in real deep. The good news for Samantha Grella is that so does her talent and ability to learn quickly. The 5’10” lefty with the deadly stroke is going to find she has a lot of friends in the college coaching world. That’s because they are all going to want her wearing their uniform one day. Samantha Grella is a baller and more importantly a worker. That combination that always leads to development and big things.
I players with lots of length, what coach doesn’t. I love kids who play with pace, what coach doesn’t. I love kids with a high IQ, what coach doesn’t. But I really love kids who can apply drills and skills to games. We have way to many drill masters these days and not enough ballers. You see Samantha Grella is a baller folks. You see she plays with pace but understands what good is pace if it’s out of control. She was not out of control once last weekend. No matter how fast the game got. She has length but understands how to use her length to tip balls and give mega quick smaller players a step. That’s because she has a off the charts IQ for a young player. It’s that IQ that allowed you to ask her to make an adjustment on the fly and not only can she do it… SHE CAN APPLY IT TO TBE GAME... now that’s rare stuff. But it’s why she is special. It why last weekend she stood out out like a sore thumb.
Now if you ask me where Samantha Grella is from. I couldn’t tell you. If you ask me what high school she will attend next year. I couldn’t tell you. That’s because there will be plenty of time for that. What I can tell you is this. Anyone who knows me understands it takes a while for me to connect with a kid. In the case of Samantha, I felt a connection with her right away. I think I was drawn to her nonsense approach. She’s that kid who seems to say get on with it. Say what you need to say and I’ll do the rest. It could be the reason she already rebounds in traffic, fills lanes in transition and plays so hand it makes your teeth sweat. She does all their without any antics or a need for approval. She does it because she just plays the right way. The way I like, they way college coaches wish all young kids would play. Samantha Grella has big things in her future because of this.
Now Samantha Grella players for the NJ Raptors out of North Jersey. Her coach Gary Gentle is the type who pushes his players. All his kids have something in common. It’s they are tough and play hard as shit always. They also feed off competition. You see Gary Gentle knows his kids have talent. But he also knows the hype game often plays a bigger role than it should when it comes to a kid getting attention or their due. So he brings his kids to the capital of hype… the Shore. He knows his kids are better than 80% of the kids getting all the hype and D1 offers. He knows the drill. But kids like Samantha Grella make it a little easier for his organization and kids to get a little more respect. Because every time Samantha and his kids kicks ass… and she kicks a lot of ass… it’s validation. Right now Samantha is validating she is the real deal. Because if last week was any indication of what to expect in the future… Samantha Grella is going to be one of the best big wings in the 2026 class one day!