Senior Day Brings Sampson Back To OU

Monday, February 26th 2007, 9:44 pm
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Kelvin Sampson returned to Oklahoma on Monday night to escort his son during the Sooners' senior day.

Sampson, who left Oklahoma in April to become Indiana's new head coach, exchanged hugs with some of his former players in a tunnel leading to the court at Lloyd Noble Center before accompanying his son, Kellen, to midcourt along with his daughter and wife.

First-year Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel exchanged hugs and handshakes with members of the Sampson family.

"I'm excited to be here as a parent and support Kellen," Sampson said beforehand. "It's really the first time I've seen him. I saw him for 48 hours at Christmas. I haven't had a chance to see him since then."

Kellen Sampson, who had scored 38 points in 29 career games leading up to Monday's game against No. 3 Kansas, got his first career start. The 6’1 guard earned a degree in communications in December and has enrolled in graduate classes at Oklahoma.

He played the first 2 minutes and 19 seconds and missed a 3-pointer from the right side.

Sampson admitted it felt a bit strange to be in Oklahoma's arena and no longer be the team's coach.

"You come back with a lot of pride, too. The facilities, this athletic program and what (athletic director) Joe (Castiglione) has built, and the coaches -- you realize that it was really a privilege to be a part of this for 12 great years," Sampson said. "Twelve years is a long time."

Sampson said Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops called and offered to take him to lunch, but he had to decline so he could get back to Indiana. The Hoosiers, who have lost four of their last six games, finish the regular season this week with games against Northwestern and Penn State.

"I said, `Well, you're going to have to come to Bloomington to take me to lunch,"' Sampson said.