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Thursday, July 15, 2010
Omar Samhan wants a little respect

By Henry Abbott

Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game did something smart. He pinpointed just about the most entertaining guy at all of Summer League, undrafted St. Mary's big man Omar Samhan. Then he convinced the player with the legendarily entertaining mouth to spend a good chunk of a day with him horsing around in Las Vegas, playing pop-a-shot, riding the roller coaster at New York New York, and (no joke) demonstrating his active feet in D'ing up a baffled passing pedestrian.

Even smarter still, Mahoney had Kyle Weidie of Truth About It come along and video the whole thing.



But the truth is that for all the charisma on display, the real story of Samhan, right now, is that he's in desperate need of an NBA roster spot, and he's not laughing about that. Mahoney writes:
"After the first two rounds of the tournament, people were like 'He’s such a good interview,' he’s this, he’s that," Samhan said. "Hold on, hold on. I scored more in the first two rounds than anyone in the history of the tournament. I averaged 30 through two games. It was one of those deals where it was like, 'Are you kidding me?'" If only we were. Omar led the Gaels through an insane tournament run, but the national media’s spotlight seemed to focus more on one-liners than drop-steps, unaware that such disregard is a punch line in itself.

Samhan isn’t in Vegas as a sideshow. He’s not here to entertain, even though he does. He -- like so many other undrafted players and second round prospects -- is fighting for his NBA life in summer league, close enough to smell the hardwood but far enough from it to bow to uncertainty. "It’s tough to be in the middle ground, and it pisses me off to be honest that I am in the middle ground," Samhan said, unearthing a bit of the fire normally reserved for the court. "I feel like I’ve done enough to be over the hump at this stage in my career and I’m not. It’s frustrating. For sure. It’s just the reality."...

"It’s funny: Guys like [Kevin] McHale are doing our games and I got a chance to listen to some of the stuff he said after the game. He was impressed with my footwork, and he’s a guy I copy all the time because he had great footwork. A lot of these guys that have great footwork like that, they’re coaching now, and they’re recruiting guys that don’t have great footwork. I don’t understand. Why are you signing guys that don’t have great footwork when that’s how you made your money?"