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Duke And Houston To Tangle In A Closed Scrimmage

Now this is going to be interesting

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round Pittsburgh
Mar 20, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson speaks at a press conference following the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena. 
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Some of you may recall that we’re not necessarily the biggest fans of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson. On the one hand, he’s a native of North Carolina and a Lumbee, and we’re always happy for Lumbee success and we take a lot of pride in anyone from this state who succeeds in basketball.

His dad took part in the Battle of Hayes Pond and if you’re not familiar with that, you should read about it. In a nutshell, the Lumbees weren’t willing to put up with any crap from the Klan and drove them out of Maxton in humiliating fashion. It’s an amazing story. The picture of Simeon Oxendine and Charlie Warriax, wrapped in the KKK banner they took from those morons and exulting is just wonderful. We can’t think of a better photo from the state of North Carolina in the 20th century.

We lost respect for Sampson when he was at Indiana however. His violations were minor but he got in trouble for the same thing at Indiana as he did at Oklahoma (impermissible phone calls). It was just stupid and it cost him his job and was a serious ding on his reputation.

At Houston though, his career has been reborn and he’s been just terrific. Houston is an historic program, one out of the old Southwest Conference that had a brilliant run under Guy Lewis from 1956 to 1986. Lewis was also a key figure in desegregating college basketball in the South and does not get as much credit as he deserves for that.

After a long time in the wilderness for Houston, Sampson has made the Cougars relevant again and now Duke and Houston have scheduled a “secret” scrimmage.

It’s not secret of course; it’s been announced. We all know. But no one gets to get to watch it and obviously it won’t count since it’s not an official game.

For new coach Jon Scheyer, it’s a chance to see where his young team stands against a powerful defensive opponent. For his players, it’s a chance to see how they work as a group.

Same for Houston. It’s a great deal for both teams.

The scrimmage will be at Houston on October 29th.