Since March, the coronavirus has unleashed all types of unbridled hell on both professional and collegiate sports. But of all the postponements, outbreaks, and whatever other madness that coaches have faced during this unprecedented time, Houston Cougars basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has been got slapped with a Skip, a Draw Two, a Reverse, and a Draw Four.
Yahoo Sports reports that during a media call on Thursday, Sampson revealed that every single player on his team has had the coronavirus this year. Yes, you read that correctly: Every. Damn. One.
“All 15 players,” Sampson said. Even coaches and managers have gone to war with Rona as well.
As a result, he’s spent the last few days practicing with only six players, though he expects two or three to be cleared in time for Sunday’s game against Alcorn State, which would give him a grand total of eight or nine available players.
It will be the team’s first contest since Dec. 5.
Despite all of this, the Cougars somehow remain 4-0 and are still the No. 6 ranked team in the country. While Sampson believes the Cougars “haven’t earned that” ranking, he also realizes he’s treading through uncharted waters.
“The last time that I saw these kids in a game was Nov. 29,” Sampson said. “This is unprecedented, man.”
That’s one way to put it.
Sampson admits that between recovering from the virus and having to repeatedly cancel practices, his players aren’t exactly in the best shape. But at this point, he’s far more concerned about the safety and well-being of his players and staff than worrying about their national ranking.
“I’ve been more focused on getting our kids healthy,” he said.
Rona is no joke, so hopefully the team can bounce back and play to the best of their ability. But I hope the NBA is keeping an eye on how this is all playing out because we could be seeing much of the same throughout the course of the NBA season, especially since professional athletes are far more apt to partake in “questionable activities” that could put them at risk for exposure to COVID-19.