View Full Version : Sampson Readies For Trip to Kuwait

8/19/2005, 12:23 AM
NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson puts his frequent flier card to good use each summer. Later this month, though, the 12th-year OU mentor will rack up a few more miles than he usually does.

The America Supports You campaign, a nationwide Department of Defense program that showcases America’s support for the men and women in the Armed Forces, announced Wednesday “Operation Hardwood – Hoops With The Troops,” a basketball tournament in which eight NCAA coaches and sports personalities, including Sampson, will travel to Kuwait to coach military basketball teams at Camp Arifjan.

Eight 13-member military basketball teams from camps throughout Kuwait will participate in the tournament from Aug. 27-31. In addition to working with the soldiers, the coaches are planning to visit a local sports clinic to meet and coach Kuwaiti children who are learning the game.

“It’s such an honor and a big deal when you have the chance to go do something for the men and women of the military who are risking their lives,” said Sampson, who led the Sooners to a share of the Big 12 regular season title last year. “I’m extremely honored that I was asked to participate in this. I talked to my wife, Karen, about it and I think it’s something important. Taking five days out of my life is a very small consequence compared to what our troops are doing.”

Said Kell, “The idea for Operation Hardwood came in a moment last winter at a University of Maryland basketball game. Several troops that had recently returned from the Middle East were being honored and the basketball connection was apparent. With the help and encouragement from a number of friends, we launched ‘Operation Hardwood – Hoops With the Troops.’”

Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs said, “Operation Hardwood is a unique example of how Americans are showing their support for our military men and women in uniform. America Supports You is proud to be a part of this basketball tournament, and we look forward to the start of the games.”

This double elimination tournament will feature the best military players in Kuwait who have honed their skills in their off-duty time for the chance to work with these top-level coaches. The tournament will take place over three days and will include 3-point and slam dunk contests prior to the start of the championship game. Nike Inc. assisted with recruiting the coaches and has donated shoes and uniforms for the teams.

“We’re taking the idea of March Madness and letting our troops get a little taste of it,” said Sampson. “All the coaches going over will be assigned to a team and we’ll have a tournament. I talked to a lot of coaches who are going and we’re all excited. It brings out the patriotism in you.”

“We’re all very excited about the opportunity to get training and advice from some of the best coaches in basketball,” said Camp Navistar team coach Staff Sergeant James Price. This is truly the chance of a lifetime, and we’re looking forward to bringing our best game.”

8/19/2005, 12:25 AM
I hope his team knows how to play defense. :D

8/19/2005, 07:01 PM
I hope his team knows how to play defense. :DIf they don't now,they will before Sampson leaves.Good show Kelvin.I salute you and the other coaches.

8/19/2005, 09:11 PM
My respect and admiration for Coach Sampson continues to grow. We are lucky to have him, imo.

King Crimson
8/19/2005, 10:25 PM
that's pretty cool. go get 'em Coach.