Oklahoma men's basketball: Sam Grooms always has a good word to offer

Since he was a child, the son of two preachers, he learned how to be there for others. To let them talk, to listen to their words and then guide them.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: March 8, 2013

Sam Grooms could talk about his share of struggles — how he went from starting for OU to coming off the bench in a year.

He could acknowledge that he's had his triumphs, too. Like how he regained Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger's trust, earning his first start of his senior season. How Grooms began to play beyond what many thought he was capable of.

But Grooms isn't one to boast. Since he was a child, the son of two preachers, he learned how to be there for others. To let them talk, to listen to their words and then guide them.

That thinking is what helped the senior through his personal battles and the struggles of his teammate, freshman point guard Isaiah Cousins.

Now, in Grooms' final regular season game, which tips off at 4 p.m. at TCU in Fort Worth, Grooms feels like his approach has left an impact on the team and the world around him.

Before he was age 10, Grooms' parents, who are ordained ministers, took him into the streets of his hometown, Washington D.C., where they did street ministry together. They would witness and bring people on the streets to God.

“We just got to interact with normal people — people who are on the streets that have nowhere to go,” Grooms said. “It's amazing that those people still have faith in God when they don't have anything. I learned a lot from it.”

Grooms learned how to talk to someone, understand their difficulties. That's impacted him on the court, too.

He's learned that how he talks to senior Romero Osby might not be the way he can deliver a message to junior Amath M'Baye.

“That's how it was on the street missions,” Grooms said. “Some things I would say to certain people, it would bring them closer to God. Some people, you just had to work with them another way.”

Throughout February, Cousins struggled through messy periods of play. He would turn over the basketball. The end result was that Grooms eventually earned the start. Cousins earned a hard-to-break disposition.

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by Stephanie Kuzydym
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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