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Student Of The Game: Daquan Sampson ’17 Is Always Willing To Learn, On The Court & In The Classroom

Daquan Sampson, with a basketball net draped around his neck, holds the Commonwealth Coast Conference trophy in his right arm while putting his left arm around men's basketball assistant coach Luke Richards as they smile for a photo to celebrating winning the conference championship in the year 2016.

BEVERLY, Mass. – It’s quite easy to understand Daquan Sampson’s ’17 value to the Endicott men’s basketball team when watching him play. His monstrous SportsCenter Top-10 worthy dunks, big-time blocks, and physical post presence are eye-catching. What isn’t highly visible to fans inside MacDonald Gymnasium, however, is his passion for academia, specifically as an exercise science major and psychology minor. 

“Mr. Sampson has always been well organized and purposeful in the various aspects of academic life,” said Endicott Sports Science professor Dr. Rich Nastasi. “He is well prepared for class providing interesting insights in the topics being discussed.”

Sports Science associate professor Dr. Doug Glazer agreed with Nastasi.

“Daquan is an absolute pleasure to have in the classroom. He participates often, he is willing to volunteer for activities all the time,” said Glazer. “He seems to have a passion about his work. He has a really good work ethic and I expect him to succeed at whatever he wants to.”

That passion, along with his drive to succeed athletically and academically, has been evident since he stepped foot on campus nearly four years ago.

“Daquan is a forward thinker,” said Nastasi. “He realized quite early (first semester of his first year) that he had a keen interest in sport psychology when surveying the sub-disciplines of exercise science. As his advisor, we discussed pathways to his graduate school aspirations which led him to the offices of Professor Katherine Kilty and Doug Glazer.”

“DQ,” as he is informally known to many on campus, took several steps in the right direction toward engaging his future success early on in his academic career at Endicott with his first internship at the Beverly Athletic Club in the summer of 2014. While there, he trained clients, helped with programming different workouts, and wrote blogs about exercise and nutrition.

Those experiences also helped transform his skills for his next internship at Athletic Evolution, which is located in Woburn, Massachusetts, during the summer of 2015. Athletic Evolution is a strength and conditioning facility that focuses on injury prevention, and muscle strengthening, among other disciplines within the exercise science field.

“My internship at Athletic Evolution opened my eyes to so many different aspects of strength and conditioning,” said Daquan. “Luckily, my hard work during my internship paid off and I got hired back in the spring as a strength coach. From there, they went on to hire me on as a full-time staff member this past summer.”

Athletic Evolution’s commitment to Daquan over the last year was returned by DQ himself, when he chose the company as his semester-long internship site.

“I decided that I wanted to go back there to do my semester-long internship and gain more responsibility,” said Daquan. “Right now, I’m doing more managerial stuff, working the front desk, and increasing my knowledge with programming. I really thought learning more about programming was a need for me because now athletes are offered programs that specialize in exactly what they want, including their demands, their skills, and positions.”

Daquan continued about the programming aspect of the internship.

“Athletic Evolution also offers evaluations for its athletes,” said Daquan. “We talk about what sport they play, their position, what their top training goals are, and then we go through a whole evaluation that incorporates a mobility function movement test, and a strength test. Then, we program a workout for the athlete based off that information and what we see as professionals in the field.”


It’s clear that Daquan is invested in his studies, his major, and excelling as a professional, but listening to him speak about his goals for being a strength and conditioning coach, along with a sports psychologist, are impressive.

“I want to be a certified strength and conditioning coach, but once I graduate and potentially after I play overseas or not I want to go back to school to become a sports psychologist,” said Daquan. “I’m so interested in the mental aspect of sport, especially the motivation side of things for athletes. I also want to see my athlete or whoever I am training to succeed in the most positive way. To see that my athlete got faster, or his/her strength numbers went up in his/her lifts is important to me as I continue to develop my skills in this field.”

Daquan also provided some insight into how his major helps him as a student-athlete at Endicott.

“Time management and listening to your body are the most important things for me being a student-athlete,” said Daquan. “If I know that I’m not feeling good on a particular day, I try to get in the athletic training room and foam roll and stretch before practice/games to feel better. If I’m in the weight room I’m going to lift less weight but do more reps; your body is your temple and your body plateaus up and down throughout your season.”

Daquan’s experience in the profession also aids his teammates too. Sometimes it can be easier for teammates to discuss what’s bothering them among one another, rather than going straight to the coaching staff. When asked about if it does help having him as a teammate in this way, DQ was quick to answer.

“Oh, definitely. I’m an approachable guy, so you can come up to me and ask me anything,” said Daquan. “I usually give them my experience and my insight on what they should do, and it definitely helps us during the year.”


Most people who know Daquan well are aware of the impact his mother, Shawnta Sampson, has had on his life. So, unsurprisingly, to his closest friends and family members, DQ’s answer to why he is an exercise science major shouldn’t come as a shock.

“I got it from my mother, actually. My mother was in the military for 26 years; she was a nurse in the Navy,” said Daquan. “Also, back when I was a sophomore in high school I got injured and my physical therapist got me back onto the court. He also got me to be stronger through therapy so I kind of got interested in that field too, so I worked for the Red Cross in Bethesda, Maryland at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and worked with the Wounded Warriors. I just got so interested in how they [Wounded Warriors] got the motivation to be in shape despite the hardships they had faced.”

It’s also clear that Daquan’s relationship with his mother is a bond that can’t be broken.

“My mother, that’s the No. 1 lady in my life,” said Daquan, with a little chuckle afterward. “My momma has raised me until this day. We have a relationship that she is my mom first, but then she’s my friend. I can talk to her about anything and she gives me her insight on what I should do. But honestly, she just tells me to man up and make my own decisions. She definitely plays a big part in my life… She IS the No. 1 woman in my life.”

And, it’s hard to disagree with Daquan considering how much of an inspiration Ms. Sampson is.

“My mom didn’t go to college until she was 40 years old, since she went into the military when she was 18-19 years old. Then she had my brother when she was 18, and then I came four or five years later after that,” said Daquan. “We also moved around a little bit. I was born in North Carolina, and then I lived in Japan for two years. After living in Japan for two years, I came back to the States and I was in Maryland from sixth grade until I was a junior in high school. Then I repeated my junior year to go to prep school - at Lawrence Academy - and play basketball. At first I didn’t want to do that, but my mom and I had a really good talk about it and she said ‘hey you gotta do this, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime’. If it weren’t for her I probably wouldn’t have made that decision and I wouldn’t be here right now. She’s definitely my backbone.”

Daquan continued to talk about his mother with high regard, and how she has continued to inspire/motivate him to succeed.

“My mom went back to school while taking care of two kids, and being a senior chief in the Navy. For her to go back to school to get her associate’s, and then her bachelor’s to get her master’s motivates me to the fullest because if my mom can do it I know I can do it,” said Daquan. “She even wants to go back to school again to get another master’s.”

If it weren’t for her, professors like Dr. Nastasi wouldn’t have things to say like this about Daquan either.

“For all of his on court and off court successes, Mr. Sampson's greatest gift is being a uniquely respectful person who is kind and thoughtful. He is very easy to cheer for!”


If the casual observer did a simple control find search on the Endicott men’s basketball record books it would be easy to find Daquan’s name on several top-10 lists. But all of those individual achievements, and the fact that the Gulls have won back-to-back Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championships entering this season doesn’t come from God given talent.

It comes from hard work.

“Daquan has been a great example of what hard work can do as he has continued to improve each year throughout his career and, by doing so, has become one of the premier players in our conference,” said Endicott men’s basketball head coach Kevin Bettencourt. “I am very excited to see his progress this upcoming season.”

To add some context to that point, Daquan ranks third all-time in rebounds (637), fourth in rebounding average (7.3) and blocked shots (89) to go along with his 806 career points, .462 field goal percentage (299-for-647), 76 assists, and 43 steals.

The Endicott men’s basketball team opens up its 2016-17 season this Saturday against Anna Maria College in the Babson Tip-Off at 1:00 p.m. in Babson Park, Mass.


The major in Exercise Science addresses the short and long-term adaptations to exercise and prepares students for careers in a variety of fields including:

  • Fitness or Recreation
  • Hospital or Corporate Wellness
  • Strength and Conditioning

The major also prepares individuals for graduate or professional study in applied or clinical allied health fields. Upon completion of the program, students may pursue advanced degrees to become a(an):

  • Applied Exercise Physiologist
  • Clinical Exercise Physiologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physician Assistant

The exercise science major is designed to provide students with latitude directing their program of study in choosing their intended career path. Students interested in applied fitness settings have internship opportunities at local, national, and international fitness facilities. Students interested in clinical applications of sport science (e.g., cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation, physical therapy) are able to complete both pre-requisite coursework and experiential observations while at Endicott. Students have the opportunity to sit for national credential examinations offered by the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.


1) Develop a basic understanding of the theories and concepts in the field of exercise science.

2) Demonstrate the ability to create exercise programs for diverse populations.

3) Communicate effectively in the written form within the conventions of the exercise science discipline.

4) Demonstrate the critical inquiry and analysis skills needed to engage constructively in intellectual discourse within the discipline of exercise science.

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