JAMAL SAMPSON?s statements in a blog should not have generated so much attention and interest among local basketball circles if only the former Smart Gilas import had not deviated from the issue raised: his sub-par performance in the Chinese Basketball Association or CBA.
Jamal blamed the poor showing on a hamstring injury and cited a previous season with Liaoning where he could boast of more impressive numbers.
I?m not sure how the interview segued to his stint with Smart Gilas, but he did mention that he still has a live contract with the team while enumerating the problems he encountered playing under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman.
It?s a lengthy blog, but after going through the entire caboodle, it became clear that the main issue was money, which Sampson claimed, owed him by Smart Gilas.
?I?m still owed money from December, we?re in February now and I still haven?t gotten it all,? said Sampson, who also claimed that Smart-Gilas still wanted to keep him despite the team?s third place finish in Dubai.
?They tried their hardest to convince me to stay and work it out. They were still talking with me a week before I left.?
According to the cager, because his payments were late, in his contract he was not obliged to play in Qatar or in Dubai.
Which brings us to the matter of his injury. If he was not being paid on time, could it be that he feigned his injury in Dubai to pressure the team to pay?
?I tried to play through the injury because I like the guys on the team. They expected me to go out and risk my knee, while I haven?t even been paid from the first month.
?The team didn?t meet numerous contractual things. I had a bigger deal in China, but the team wanted to keep me so they kept upping their offer, that?s why the process of me signing took so long. Unfortunately, from the beginning all those things put in the contract to get me to stay weren?t met, late and missed payments, and other things promised in the contract couldn?t be delivered.?
Without mincing words, Sampson also accused the SBP of being disorganized.
?You have a lot of people doing jobs that they are unqualified to be doing. The whole program is unorganized, and other people in the organization feel the same as me, and have told me it was gonna be like this from the beginning, but won?t speak up now ?cause they don?t want to lose their job.
He cited the coaching staff, specifically the assistant coaches.
?Do these assistant coaches have the qualifications to be coaching a national team?. What serious level coaching experience do they have? How can someone under 5 feet who never played in the post in their life be a big man coach? Someone under 5 feet can be a great coach, don?t get me wrong, but to be a big man coach and to have never played in the post or even played high level ball? C?mon now.?
Is Sampson being truthful here? Do we have hobbits in the national team coaching staff?
Sampson complained about sleeping on the floor without a bed for five days while in Manila. In fairness, I think that?s probably because there was no bed long enough for him when he first arrived.
Toward the end of the long interview, Sampson talked about some of the things he heard from inside sources:
?I was told by numerous sources that on a team retreat SBP executive Noli Eala said to the team that he started this program only to get back at the PBA for what they did to him. That right there says enough. This whole thing wasn?t even started for the right reasons.?