Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kelvin Sampson update and flashback

Forgive my fascination with Sampson's situation in Bloomington.

There were some interesting articles recently from the Indianapolis Star on the Sampson situation.

Column by Bob Kravitz. The most interesting note in this column was the Sampson's predecessor at IU, Mike Davis, told Krativz that Sampson would have the Hoosiers in trouble within three years. This from a University that consistently played hoops at a high level for 30 years without a sniff of impropriety until AGB showed up.

While you're at the site, Kravitz's column on the 14th was interesting as well.

Most MSM types are projecting that the seven day investigation is merely due process as a prelude to firing, to minimize lawsuits. This genius at the NYT seems to think otherwise. My favorite part of Rhoden's column is a statement that "Sampson coaches a style of play that fans want to watch and that players like to play." Makes me think Mr. Rhoden hasn't watched much basketball. decided I'd check to see if Rhoden wrote much about basketball. Rhoden's last article in the Old Gray Lady that covered basketball was on December 24, when he wrote a column defending Isiah Thomas as coach of the Knicks.

I didn't have a blog at the time, but here are some old stats on Kelvin Sampson's tenure at Oklahoma from 1994-2006:

  • Record in NCAAs - 11-11. There are 25 teams that have played more than 20 games in the NCAAs during that period. The two teams with the worst record in that era in the tourney are Oklahoma and . . . Indiana.
  • There are 31 teams that played eight or more first round games during that time frame. Oklahoma and Penn are the only teams of those 31 with a winning percentage below 500.
  • Nineteen teams have played 15 or more games against lower seeded teams. Kelvin Sampson's Oklahoma squads had the worst record (9-6) of those nineteen teams.
  • The Sooners were one of three schools (UCLA and Florida were the others) to lose three games or more to double digit seeds.

One of Kelvin's comments was that you couldn't recruit premier talent to Norman, Oklahoma. Sampson's predecessor, the Honorable Billy Tubbs (great article, by the way here on scoring), was able to recruit Wayman Tisdale (#2 pick, 12 years in NBA), Stacey King (#6 pick, 8 years in NBA), Mookie Blaylock (#12 pick, 13 years in NBA), Anthony Bowie (#66 pick, 8 years in NBA) and Harvey Grant (#12 pick, 11 years in NBA) to Norman.

Kelvin was able to recruit 3 2nd round picks in his 12 seasons in Norman. And he had all those extra phone calls! One of the problems there was you didn't see anyone develop under him. Do you think Longar Longar would have improved with two more years under Sampson? I don't. I can't think of a player that showed marked improvement - outside of Eddie Najera - during KS tenure. Kevin Bookout didn't seem to improve at all during his time. Ebe Ere, Australia's greatest scorer, did little at OU under Kelvin.

I was glad to see sampson gone from OU. After going to school during Billyball, watching Sampson's gutsy gritty teams stand around the perimeter while praying for the post defender to fall down so they could pass it inside, only to be forced to jack up a forced shot with no time left on the shot clock, was painful. He ran off good players - Ryan Humprhies, Drew Lavender, D'Angelo Alexander come immediately to mind. You can't really name a player that you can say, wow, they really got better during Sampson's tenure.

Now, he's been accused of lying about his cheating at IU. I don't see how his career survives that. If he had coached at ND along the way perhaps he could land a job at ESPN.

We'll see what happens later this week.

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