Rose Coschignano/Staff Photographer

He was a standout performer at The Shipley School in Philadelphia. He earned the honor of team MVP three times over the course of his high school career. He was selected to an all-state team twice. With those accolades in his back pocket, top-recruit guard Sam Sessoms is set to enter his freshman season as a Binghamton Bearcat.

Coming into the season, Sessoms is seen as a competitive player who will likely be placed among the starting five. Sessoms was heavily recruited, with several schools looking to add him to their rosters. His familiarity with some Bearcat players, among other reasons, ultimately persuaded him to choose Binghamton as his next home.

“The recruiting process was heavy because you’re just waiting to get that one phone call,” Sessoms said. “Ultimately when it came down to choosing Binghamton … I love the coaching staff [and] I was familiar with a few players from the team. As far as from a basketball standpoint, I felt like I was able to come in and contribute to the style of play.”

Sessoms enters his first season at Binghamton having achieved much success during his high school career. He owns the all-time scoring record at his high school with 2,091 points, as well as his school’s single-game scoring record with 55. He averaged 28.8 points per game as a senior, which was enough to earn him a spot on the First Team All-State. He proved to be a versatile guard, able to snag 6.2 rebounds per game, as well as a nifty defender with 202 steals.

The biggest challenge in Sessoms’ path, however, will be in translating that success to college ball. High school standouts can have a tough time transitioning to college basketball, and Sessoms is well aware of the difference in skill level, toughness and pace of play between high school and college. According to him, it’s not something that won’t be a challenge, but also isn’t anything he can’t overcome.

“The biggest transition is just the physicality,” Sessoms said. “It stands out because I was a strong kid growing up, even when I got to high school as a ninth and tenth grader, I was as strong as the seniors … you gotta play smarter, but I always felt like I’ve been a smart basketball player.”

Sessoms will definitely feel the physicality this season with top-tier opponents such as Michigan, Notre Dame and Northwestern on the Bearcats’ schedule. Luckily for him, Sessoms has experienced facing veterans at his position, graduate student guard J.C. Show chief among them, on his team to help prepare him for the upcoming season.

Although hoping to achieve individual success in Binghamton as he did during his high school tenure, Sessoms is laser-focused on the improvement and success of the team as a whole. And his aim for the team is set no lower than a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

“I have individual accolades that I would like to achieve, but none of that would matter to me if the team wasn’t successful,” Sessoms said. “I would like to do way better than we have been doing in the past here. I feel like we have a great group, and if there was any year we were able to have success, this is the year.”

In order to achieve that lofty goal, Sessoms plans on taking each game in stride. He is prepared to play significant minutes and step up if and when he needs to, taking direction from his new coaches and players.

“I’m preparing for Cornell on Nov. 6 the same way I’ll prepare for Michigan,” Sessoms said “Every practice, you gotta go out there and give it your all, compete, make your teammates better [and] make your team better. That’s my goal.”