An underdog's bark
Oakland University coach Greg Kampe compares Texas star Tristan Thompson to hisdog
TULSA, Okla. — What do you do after you've been compared to a dog? A beloved dog sure, but still a canine.
If you're Texas forward Tristan Thompson, you sort of shrug and manage a smile. Greg Kampe — the longtime coach of Oakland University, the 13th seed from the Detroit suburbs that plays four-seed Texas in the first round early Friday afternoon — found a perfect parallel for Thompson during his game-tape scouting of the Longhorns.
Only it wasn't another college basketball player or an NBA player. It was Kampe's dog — G. (And yes it's just G, Kampe's son had naming honors).
"I'll tell you a quick story," Kampe said. "I have a dog and every time my front doorbell rings, my dog runs to the front door. We open the door and it's never been for him.
"But every time that bell rings, he goes. That's how Tristan is on the offensive glass. Every time a shot goes up, he's going for it. That's why he's such a great offensive rebounder. I tell my own players that if I can get you to rebound like my dog goes to the door, we've got a chance to be good."
OK, so Kampe meant the dog comment as the ultimate compliment. How can you not love this homespun-jabbering basketball lifer?
Still when you're a 6-foot-8 NBA prospect (not to mention the rare Canadian basketball hero), it's not always clear how you should react to being compared to the opposing coach's family pet.
"I guess it's another compliment," Thompson said. "I like his story."
You can bet that UT coach Rick Barnes isn't telling Thompson and his teammates dog tales. It's not in his business-serious nature. But there's little doubt that how Thompson plays against Oakland's more experienced center Keith Benson will go a long way toward determining if it's dog day afternoon for Texas Friday.
Still think this NCAA Tournament hasn't gone to the pets?