Last one for this year:
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- Coogs will start the tournament either against UCONN or USF on Friday night
- Spent a lot of time today reviewing 4 or 5 games to take things to practice that we can work on
- Today was a day off, but looked at the gym today and a lot of guys were working in the gym (Davis, Van Beck, Dotson, Galen mentioned)
- Hofheinz construction begins Friday
- Development Center is key to kelp develop these kids
- Development Center is not a practice facility, they practice where they play → Hofheinz
- Kids spend all their time in the development facility though
- Usually watch film the night before the games, but before senior night it gets emotional.
- In 1999-00 they started having all the players write down what they’ll remember about each senior. CKS also writes something about the player. Tears start flowing as it will be the last time they’ll be able to go to the Sampson house, to get cookies; moment hits them. Take all the sheets, put it in a binder and give it to the player so they can have it for the rest of their lives. Example of the culture they want to build and camaraderie.
- Senior ceremony was well done. Glad to see all the families there.
- Bert didn’t have his family there since they are back in Cameroon, but he did have his sponsor family there.
- Never been involved with the closing of an arena, but thought it was well-done.
- Gives all credit to Hunter Yurachek for how the ceremony turned out. Was glad to see the Women’s team there as well
- Dot made the shot at one end and passed it through all the decades of all the players. When it got to the end, Hakeem said he could still dunk so Elvin passed him the ball to dunk it. Speaks volumes about the history of the program.
- Makes a distinction between fans and supporters - fans will stick with you and dump you depending on wins/losses, supporters are with you no matter what.
- Wins and losses aren’t that important in the big picture for the seniors, but long-term they’ll remember the journey more than just one game. One thing they’ll all have in common is that they’ll all be ex-players and ex-coaches.
- Dotson three at the end to continue the streak was bittersweet because he couldn’t make one all game. Was concerned that he didn’t want to show up the ECU players/coaches, but wanted Dot to continue that streak on Senior night.
- All of Dot’s shots were in-and-out. Shooters are like that, mentions Steph Curry’s recent slumps. Just one of those days. For every shot Dot misses he’ll shoot up a hundred in the gym.
- Have a great pep band; goes to speak to them twice a year to talk to them about their support and how important they are , especially on the sparsely attended nights. Have seniors that are their every single year and invest their hearts into the team. Lauren (Sampson) started this last year of giving the seniors a gift to the senior pep band members. Let’s them know how much they are appreciated.
- Favorite memory of Hofheinz Pavillion was beating UCONN the first year; what in the world was that team beating Connecticut. So many players that stepped up to make it happen: Rose, Pollard, Knowles, Stiggers, Barnes. Meant more than any other moment because those kids had been picked on and playing in empty arenas which wears on them, especially going on the road and seeing the big crowds.
- What does Gray’s getting to 1000 points mean? Nothing, didn’t even know it happened. He was the 46th guy; there will be a 47th.
- Last year’s team thought that defense was the thing that surrounds the backyard and you go run around in the yard inside of. Needles Chicken about how bad they were on defense last year.
- Mentions that if something is bad, that falls on the coach. Follows a lot of teams and networks with a lot of coaches. Remember when things are going good, give all the players the credit. When things are going bad, take all the blame; that’s just what good coaches do.
- After last year, went to review what we could do to improve; can’t be good at everything so picked 2 or 3 things to get better on. Wanted to be really good at pick and roll defense, mentions that Chicken is really good at that.
- Told kids in the offseason that if they wanted to get better, get in the gym and shoot; that’s what Dot said. The only thing that you can really get better at is what can you control. You can’t really improve jumping/speed, but you can be the best at something that you can work on. Thought when Dotson got to UH, he was an average 3 point shooter. Dot chose to get in the gym and got better.
- Changed a couple of things in the second half and had the best defensive efficiency rating of the year (53 out of 100). Out of 351 schools, we were in the top 72 schools this year. Last year we were way north of 100.
- Wanted to win games where we didn’t shoot the ball well. For example, the UCONN game at home where we shot 34%; last year we would have lost badly.
- Had family there
- Wanted to cry yesterday, but can’t cry in front of everyone. Was emotional, but liked the ceremony and it was good
- Second chance, couldn’t play the first year. Finally got to play, it was up and down, but enjoyed it.
- Came from the Bahamas, thought that everyone would be a cowboy when he came to Houston. Figured it out and got to playing basketball.
- Came over in 2008 at 15 years old.
- Hardest adjustment was being away from family, and then he had an accent so had to deal with people.
- Chicken nickname came from a coach in the Bahamas because he kept crying and crying so they just called him Chicken. Hated it then, but doesn’t mind it now. Says teachers call him that now.
- Always wanted to play college basketball; watched it back home in the Bahamas, loved the crowd.
- Best memory of Hofheinz was beating UCONN his first year - top 15 team.
- Has a lot of time and nothing to do which is why he shows up for all the sporting events. Has friends with every team so he goes and supports them.
- Watched NBA TV a lot as a kid, loved Dr. J as a kid
- Favorite thing about Houston is going to the movies; likes all movies - scary, comedy, a little bit of action
- Listen to a little bit everything → R. Kelly, the Weekend, the Jagged Edge
Back to Coach Sampson
- 1st game in tourney says 8 pm, but will probably be closer to 830 due to games prior
- Introduces Chicken’s mom and his Houston family to the crowd.
- Admired Marlon from the Houston family for taking Chicken under his wing and looking after him. Treated Chicken right and then says he appreciates what he’s done.
- Athletic Admin should find a way to hire Chicken. Not just going to sporting events, he interacts with all the departments–marketing, compliance, etc–and everyone loves him. If someone doesn’t like Chicken, he’d worry about that person.
- When CKS got to Houston, everyone else left, but Chicken stayed and that meant a lot to Coach.
- Most kids are near-sighted about their future and leave for the wrong reasons. First thing people say about those players that left is that you quit, but Chicken stayed and everyone will remember that.
- 5 seniors were the ones that got this whole thing started: the last couple of years, the development center, the new arena. Also need to remember the seniors the last couple of years because they helped pave the way.
- Team headed in the right direction. Rome isn’t built in a day. Every year you try to get a little better.
- Next year’s class he’s looking forward to.
- Backcourt is back - Gray and Galen. Also get Van Beck back. Armoni Brooks is going to be really good, just scratching the surface of his potential. Devin Davis, hopefully he can stay healthy. Mentions Fabian White and Gabe Grant as guys that are going to be good. Lot of good players coming back, we’ll be good again next year
- Get geared to a routine during a season; NCAA rules require 1 day off every 7 days
- This year is a bit different, last year had 8 days off after being Cincy on a Thursday which completely threw off the routine.
- Thankfully this year, we played on a Sunday. Took today off, practice tomorrow, fly out tomorrow night to get to Hartford, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Hartford to get ready.
- Not ideal to play the home team on their court; everyone else is playing on a neutral court except for USF who opens with a road game. Just have to prepare and win the game.
- Late game shouldn’t matter, both teams playing at the same time so it shouldn’t matter.
- Like watching these 1-bid tournaments because whoever wins goes to the NCAA tourney. Better tourneys because it’s a “knife-fight”, unlike the ACC tourney where 6 or 7 teams go and they know they’re going. Sometimes, those coaches want to lose early in order to get more rest.
- This time of year is exciting because got something to play for. Have to be ready, win Friday, play Saturday; lose and you’ll be coming home Saturday.
- Three in the teams that we played in non-conference will probably win their tournament and go to the NCAA tourney. That’s why the Strength of schedule is so good.
- Failure this year was not beating Cincy or SMU at home. Still good, we’re still 3rd
- How far we’ve come that people are upset that we aren’t in the NCAA tourney; last year, people we’re ecstatic that we were in the NIT.
- Kellen is the guy that keeps track of RPI and kenpom and keeps track of who wins/loses that will improve our standing. Coach just asks if any of that will help them beat UCONN.
- Doesn’t talk about playing a team a 3rd time; won’t talk about it because it’s bad luck because they only played USF once and they might play them again. Says they’ll talk about it next week, but then remembers this is the last one.
- Jeremy tries to ask it a different way and Coach gets on him about rambling and trying to fill time.
- Thanks everyone for coming out and Go Coogs!