“I don’t think you appreciate it at the time. People will tell you, make sure you understand how important this is or what a big deal it is, enjoy the moment. You don’t enjoy the moment. Not as you’re going through it. I have an appreciation for it now because I know how hard it is.” Said Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma head basketball coach from 1994-2006.
That 2002 Sooner squad has a lot of similarities to this year’s OU team beyond just winning the West Regional.
“I was talking to Lon the other day on the phone and they’re going to come practice in our gym here on Friday. You start talking about the similarities in his road and the road that we had. Senior dominated team, Buddy Hield is the star, Hollis was the star. It’s just eerie the similarities in the same team.”
No Sooner from 02 had quite the year Buddy Hield is having though, and Sampson says has high praise for Hield.
“Oklahoma has a good team. They have a good team without Buddy. With Buddy they have a great team. But he seems to be a great ambassador for college basketball. Not just on the floor and his team spirit. But he seems to be one of those kids that we just hold up and say this is who we are. This is college basketball. Because he seems to be just as good a person as he is a player.”
Sampson says he would pay to watch Hield play. Sampson is now getting paid to coach at Houston, and after two seasons with the Cougars, he proudly showed off their new practice facility.
“It was really good to come to a school that needed to be built. Had we had a bunch of guys back we would just have to rebuild. But we had to really start over and that’s kind of neat at this point in my career.”