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.
Grooms was always there for the freshman. During a home game against Kansas, Grooms wrapped his arm around Cousins' shoulder as he led him to the locker room for halftime. Cousins had just committed a turnover with 26 seconds remaining in the half and a stern talking to from Kruger.
Grooms said that after that game, instead of telling Cousins what he did wrong, he worked with him on his count to get ball across the court quicker.
As the point guard, and the guy the Sooners count on to run the offense, Grooms learned how to help his teammates work through their struggles during a game or practice. In return, they gave him advice during his low-point this season.
Sam's mother, Ora, said helping a teammate is how her son has always been. That's the way she raised him.
“I always told him when it comes down to basketball, you go for everything you know,” Ora said. “After the basketball game, it's over. Stay competitive in that arena, but when the game (over), be a good human being.”
During that time Grooms worked with Cousins, the senior wasn't the guy earning the start. Grooms didn't care if helping Cousins through his battles made his struggles to become a starter even more difficult. Those street missions taught him how to find a happy medium of a tough situation.
“Tough times don't last, but tough people do,” Grooms said. “That's the big quote that I stick by when people go through anything.”