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This is kind of sweet, to me at least

Xavier thumps Indiana, 80-65

I couldn’t help but smile a little bit when I saw this recap at Yahoo! Sports.

Drew Lavender had 13 points and 6 assists to help Xavier vanquish the Hoosiers, who are coached by one Kelvin Sampson — Lavender’s first college basketball mentor when both were at Oklahoma. Lavender transferred to Xavier from OU following the 2004-2005 season, and the following year Sampson left OU for Indiana (replacing Mike Davis) under a cloud of impermissible-phone-call violations to recruits.

I always liked Lavender when he was at Oklahoma and hated to see him go when he transferred … something I understood to a point given that Ohio is his home state. Lavender is now in his final year of college eligibility and here’s hoping that his senior year is a fruitful and successful one. Xavier is usually a talented team that more often than not finds its way to the NCAA Tournament, even if they don’t get that far once they get there (oddly enough, Xavier was one of the teams that OU knocked off in 2002 on its way to the Final Four that season).

I’ve come to think a lot less of Sampson since he left Oklahoma for Indiana, a place where I’m still convinced Sampson went to because in Bloomington he wouldn’t have to compete with football for fan love. A friend of mine here made the observation that it always seemed that Sampson wasn’t happy with the fact that basketball was (and always will be) an afterthought at OU (women’s basketball aside).

This is a fact that should give OU fans pause if they want to keep current OU mentor Jeff Capel here in a few years.

Capel’s first year wasn’t entirely roses — the recruiting class that Sampson had attracted before bolting for Indiana for the most part bolted on Capel (most notably guard Scottie Reynolds, who took his game to Villanova), but at the end of the day the Sooner program is in significantly better hands with the onetime Dukie in charge.

One wonders where Indiana is headed under Sampson. Sure they have a talented lineup. Sure they’re in the Top 10 (at least for now), sure the very mention of the word “Indiana” still conjures up a college-basketball cachet enjoyed by few in that realm. But being caught committing the same violations at Indiana that got him — and Oklahoma — in trouble in the first place can’t be a step in the right direction.


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