West Region Notebook

News and notes from San Jose on Thursday's Sweet 16 matchup between OU and Arizona

SampsonÕs father recovering
For Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson, the last 24 hours have been difficult, to say the least. Ned Sampson, father of Kelvin, collapsed yesterday and underwent emergency surgery last night in San Jose to remove a build up of fluid around the brain. Kelvin has spent all of his time at the hospital here in San Jose, except for a practice session ended at 5 p.m.

At a press conference on Wednesday Kelvin was too distraught to finish his comments about his father. Mr. Sampson is out of grave danger, but remains in serious condition.

Our prayers are with Kelvin and his family.

Father knows best
Arizona forward Luke Walton, son of the Ônot your average JoeÕ Bill Walton told me today that the former UCLA/NBA star calls him 8-10 times per day with John Wooden quotes and encouragement.

Wooden, the legendary UCLA coach who made college basketball history, was famous for his mind games and somewhat unusual Ôquotes for the thinking man,Õ (i.e. Òthe team that makes the most mistakes winsÓ). Wooden coached Bill at Westwood during the glory years of Bruin domination, and the irony is that Walton probably drove Wooden into early retirement.

Luke said that the 'Sweet 16' game against the Sooners has caused his dad to phone with a quote or piece of Woodenesque advice every few hours, and that he often follows-up with additional comments ten minutes later. When asked who his dad roots for when the Wildcats play UCLA, Luke replied that dad roots for UCLA Ñ and also for him to have a good game.

Ere hopes to win with defense
Meanwhile, Ebe Ere has drawn Walton as his assignment Ñ and admits that tomorrow night will be the toughest challenge of his career. Ere said his focus will be to keep Walton from dishing off and passing, where he may be more valuable than with his scoring.

Just win baby
Arizona coach Lute Olsen called Hollis Price Òthe most underrated guard in the country.Ó Obviously more impressed by Price than his Wildcat players Ñ who said that "Price and White were no better or faster, and about equal to the guards they play in the Pac 10". When asked if he appreciated the compliment and all the media attention, Hollis responded that he didnÕt care about the attention and awards as long as the Sooners won.

High praise
Coach Olsen said that Kelvin and Karen were good friends and that Kelvin has become a better floor coach since leaving the Pac 10 and WSU. Olsen also said Kelvin has a system and does not make the mistake of deviating from it. He called this year, where Sampson had to work in so many new players, one of the best jobs of coaching that heÕd ever seen.

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