Houston was motivated by ‘grandpa’ slight about Kelvin Sampson
Houston came out on fire against Georgia State on Friday and made a statement early. It turns out there was a good reason for their inspired play.
The Cougars said after their 84-55 win over the Panthers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament that they were motivated by Georgia State coach Ron Hunter calling Kelvin Sampson “grandpa” throughout his press appearance on Thursday.
“The only thing I think Houston definitely has better, a much better coach. Their coach is so much better. I don’t know if I’m going to be in that game, I’m outmatched,” Hunter said Thursday via the Houston Chronicle. “Kelvin, he’s like my idol. When I was — I think when I was 10, he was 60 at that time. I really look up to grandpa. Grandpa has — he’s got a great team, been coaching longer. I will ask grandpa if I should call a timeout. I’ll ask him who I should start. If it’s four minutes to go in the game and we are winning, I will ask grandpa if it’s okay to finish the game and we can win because I don’t even know why we’re here but — no, they’ve done a great job.”
Regardless of whether or not Hunter was joking, Houston’s players took it as a sign of disrespect. That helped fire them up for the game and led to “retaliation,” according to Breaon Brady.
While Georgia St Coach Ron Hunter jokingly referred to Kelvin Sampson as "Grandpa" it was no joke to the Cougars. Breaon Brady (@BreaonB): "When you're gonna disrespect somebody you know you're going to receive some kind of retaliation..Tonight we put on a clinic for Coach." pic.twitter.com/VUCDoBvjEL
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 23, 2019
Hunter made clear after the game that he has nothing but respect for Sampson and was just having fun.
@UHCougarMBK players said GASt Coach Ron Hunter was disrespectful when he referred to Kelvin Sampson as "Grandpa. "Ron said he was joking"I have more respect for Kelvin than any coach in America, If you can't have fun in the NCAA Tournament then you don't need to be here, period" pic.twitter.com/mT8hSQ1bUt
— Coog Nation (@CoogNation247) March 23, 2019
Even if he was having fun, Hunter might want to be more careful next time to make sure he doesn’t inadvertently fire up his opponent.