On winning their third straight Big 12 Tournament Title
"One of the things about winning the Big 12 Tournament three years in a row is your players never get to enjoy it. As soon as the game's over there's an hour between the game and selection Sunday. Then you go right into questions about who you play in the first round or about your seed.
"I want to just congratulate this bunch on what they've accomplished this year culminating in a Big 12 Championship. It never gets old. Hollis has done it three years and Quannas, Ebi and Jozsef did it for a second straight year. I think it's significant because of how good our league is and how high quality the teams in our league.
"I also want congratulate all the teams from our conference for making the tournament. I wish them all luck and I hope everyone advances far. We're representing what I think is the greatest conference in college basketball this year. It's been a great conference run and a great Big 12 tournament run.
On if Ebi Ere is gaining more confidence
"I hope he is. Even though he's not making shots he seems to be playing with more positive energy. There's a little more pep in his step. His body language is a little bit He was disappointed he didn't knock down any of those open jumpshots in the second half. Missing shots is like making shots ...it's contagious. Just like in the first half, you make a couple and they all look like the basket is as big as a beach. And then in the second half when we were missing them the basket looked squeezed a little bit. Ebi had some looks in the second half, but I like the fact that he took them and took them with confidence. We certainly want Ebi to shoot everytime he's open."
On the importance of Ere in the NCAAs
We have to have another scorer. Last year, throughout the tournament, we had three guys who could get 20 on you every game. You need three guys, so when one's off you still have the other two. This year we don't have three guys who can get 20. Quannas can get you 10-12 and Ebi's a guy we don't know what to expect from really. We don't win the Colorado game without him, I can tell you that. Kevin Bookout, Quannas, Ebi and De'Angelo, they're all capable. If we can get them all going on the same night we'll be pretty good."
On if the wrist injury helped him focus better
"I think what it did was put it in perspective for him. His career could've ended that day. I think it put a little perspective for him thinking here I am worrying about a shot or going through this slump, yet it could've been over. It put some joy and some fun back in it for him, I think."
On playing they'll treat playing in OKC like a home game
"We'll probably go to OKC and get a hotel. Tournament play is not like the regular season, because in the regular season you don't have a lot of distractions at home. But now you have girlfriends, friends and family everywhere you go. Sometimes you want them to be around each other and get focused. This time of the year you do everything you can to keep it normal, but at the same time it's not normal."
On Hollis Price's health
Hollis went there a big, strong, robust 165 pounds. And he came back a broken down, beat up, worn out 160. Rickey Paulding is 6-5, 215. Brandon Mouton is 6-5, 217. Andre Emmett is 6-5, 220. And those are Hollis' matchups. The third game in three days is going to wear on him moreso than other wings just because of his size. He'll be fine. He won't do anything today and I'll have to make him not do anything today. We'll meet as a team this afternoon and introduce South Carolina State, but we may have some individual workouts with certain players. I'll make Alex Brown handcuff Hollis and put him in the whirlpool."
On South Carolina State and their star player Moses Malone Jr.
"He was at Texas Tech with James Dickey during his freshmen year. I actually saw him at the Nike Camp. He's a talented kid. They've got a lot of division one transfers. They've got two kids who transferred from Clemson and Moses Malone. They've got major college players.
"Their team is so much like their coach Cy Alexander. I've known Cy for a long time. He is a professional college basketball coach. His teams are going to be well-drilled and they're not going to be easy to play against. They're undersized in height, but they're oversized in heart and toughness. Those are the kind of teams that give you problems. Their offense is kind of a three-headed monster with Dustin Braddick, Malone and Thurman Zimmerman. All of those kids average about 15-16 points a game."
On what type of game Malone has
"He's just 6-5 player, kind of like Daryan Selvy was for us. He's just a basketball player. He's a hard matchup."
On the tourney in Dallas
"I'd like to see it regularly in Dallas. I think it's unfair to put it permanently anywhere because I think it's not fair for the fans. Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, those three schools benefit from having it in the South because it's more accessible to the fans. At the same time having it in the North benefits Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State. That's why it should be rotated. It has to be accessible to the fans. To leave it in Dallas is not fair to the fans in the North. To leave it in Kansas City is unfair to the schools to the South."
On the facility in Dallas
"The American Airlines Center, from an amenities standpoint, is nicer than any arena I've ever been in. It's beautiful. I think that everybody enjoyed playing there. It was well-run. Was it Kansas City? No, it wasn't Kansas City because Kansas City is all about tradition. It was part of peoples lifestyle. That time of year they plan their lives around going to Kansas City. You can't compare that to Dallas right now because Dallas is a novelty right now. But in terms of the basketball, the amenities and the weather, there's a lot of positives about Dallas. I think the Big 12 is to be commended for moving it to Dallas and giving the South fans an opportunity to support their teams."
On if the game atmosphere was any different in Dallas
"We've been in three straight championship games. When we played Kansas is was an unbelievable pro-Kansas crowd and it was a tremendous environment. Yesterday, when we played Missouri it was a pro-Oklahoma crowd, but the atmosphere and ambiance were no different."
On the Big 12 needing to win a national title before it can claim to be the best conference
"Look how far we've come. It used to be we needed to get a team in the great eight. And then it was can we ever get a team in the Final Four. This is just the next step. Last year we had two teams break through and make the Final Four. The question now is just get to the Final Four before you start talking about how great your conference is. So now it's a year later and the next step is you need to win a national championship. That's going to come. It may not be this year, but that doesn't take away from the fact that in 2003 the best conference was the Big 12.
"We have two teams that are one seeds, and their can be an argument that those aren't even the two right teams. Kansas has a great argument. How can you win your conference championship over 16 games and not get a one seed?
"Can we (conference) win a national title this year? Sure we can, but we all found out by watching the No. 1 team in the nation (Duke) go down early last year. Sometimes it comes down to good fortune. If you get the breaks eventually you're going to win one."
Sampson reviews OU's Big 12 win, previews SC State
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