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Samuel Thomas Dekker was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on May 6, 1994. He attended Sheboygan Lutheran High School in Sheboygan. During his senior year, he led Sheboygan Lutheran to their first Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state title. In the title game, Sam Dekker scored 40 points, including the three-point shot that won the game with 2 seconds left.
After his senior year, he was named the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year, the 2012 Parade All-American, the Associated Press All-State first team, and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches’ Association’s Mr. Basketball Award. Overall, he held high recruiting rankings as he received four-stars from Scout, four-stars from ESPN, and three-stars from Rivals.com. Before beginning college, Sam Dekker participated on the under-18 United States nation team that subsequently defeated Brazil in the FIBA Americas championship and led to a gold medal for the United States. However, Sam Dekker's play time was limited to due an injury.
Sam Dekker chose to commit to the Wisconsin Badgers for the 2012-2013 season. During his freshman year, Sam Dekker played in 35 games and was one of four true freshmen to start under Coach Bo Ryan. He twice scored a season-high 19 points against Arkansas in November 2012 and Nebraska in February 2013. Sam Dekker was recognized on the Big Ten All-Freshman team and was an honorable mention on the All-Big Ten Honors team. He was also named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice for the weeks of January 14 and March 4, 2013.
Before his sophomore season, Sam Dekker was placed on the watch lists for the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award. At the end of the regular season, he was named to the All-Big Ten second team by the coaches and the All-Big Ten third team by the media. Before the beginning of his junior season, Sam Dekker was again named to the watch lists for the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award.
By the end of the regular season of his junior year, Sam Dekker was again named to the All-Big Ten second team by the coaches and media. However, Sam Dekker showed his true potential in the NCAA Tournament. He scored a career high 23 points and 10 rebounds against number four seeded North Carolina to lead Wisconsin to a 79-72 victory. In the Elite 8, Sam Dekker scored another career high of 27 points, including 5 of Wisconsin’s 10 second half-threes, against the number 2 seeded Arizona Wildcats.
Due to these efforts, Sam Dekker was named the West Regional Most Outstanding Player during the 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. During Wisconsin’s Final Four game against the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats, Sam Dekker managed to score 16 points, including a three-pointed that solidified Wisconsin’s lead. The Badgers finished second in the NCAA tournament as they lost to Duke in the finals. A week after the loss, Sam Dekker declared his intent for eligibility in the NBA Draft and decided to drop out of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
In June 2015, the Houston Rockets picked Sam Dekker at the 18th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He officially signed his rookie contract with Houston on July 7, 2015. However, Sam Dekker missed the 2015 NBA Summer League in its entirety due to a back injury.
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