If Sampson rarely has elite talent, he has consistently built winners around tough-nosed bowlers who build a fort around the basket that they are defending. In Washington State, Oklahoma, Indiana and Houston – in his last previous seasons as head coach, which was good enough to reach the NCAA tournament on a regular basis, but just one trip to the Final Four with Oklahoma in 2002 . The backcourt duo of that team – Hollis Price and Quanus White – are on their staff with the Cuppers.
They were nodding head-on with approval of course on Monday night as the Cougars took up space away from the Oregon State floor full of shooters, causing them to flare up. Price and White were particularly pleased with DeJon Jarreau, a sinful 6-foot-5 guard who, like them, hails from New Orleans.
A transfer from Massachusetts who spent a year at a community college, Jarreau had 10 points, 8 assists and 8 rebellions, but his best work may be on defense. He was named the most outstanding player of the tournament. He badly troubled Ethan Thompson, who had scored 48 points in the previous two games and was particularly adept at coming to the free-throw line, where he shot 25 of 25 in the tournament. On Monday, Thompson was limited to 11 points, though he contributed 7 rebounds and 6 assists to fuel Oregon State’s late charge.
“Dude, it’s like a dream come true,” Jarreau, who is in his third school with his best friend, Bryson Gresham. “Growing up, watching the Final Four, watching college basketball, you always think about getting to this point, watching former players do it on TV. As I said, as a child, I watch TV growing up, and I think I hope to be here one day, and man, I’m here. “
There were similar feelings when Bayrel held his berth after midnight.
As Cool and Gang’s “Celebration” rocked, players bounced around the court, hugged for selfies, and finally snatched the net off the rims.
But in this epidemic season, it was a different kind of celebration. There were only several hundred Baylor fans out there to share in merrymaking, and the traditional confetti shower was a do-it-yourself exercise. Beers grabbed a handful of buckets and leapt into the air.
As the confetti fell down, a portion of the court recalled those days at the South-West Conference, as it was in green.