Senior forward makes a come-from-behind win, while leaving his troubles in the past
W hen Sam Mack arrived on
the University of Houston campus, not
many people knew what to expect. Most
people knew that he was a great basketball player, being voted to the Big Eight
all-newcomer team at Iowa State, but
was wondering when all that stuff in the
past would ever be in the past."
Mack left Arizona State after being kicked off the team, a victim of two
other run-ins with the law.
followed up with 32 points against #6 rated
Mack brought in a new scoring
threat, complementing Cougar veterans
Craig Upchurch and Daniels. He also
His next stop was at Tyler Junior brought the desire to win, and win at any
Mack also came with some heavy bag- College, where he finally quieted down cost.
gage. his actions off the court and heated up on In a game in College Station against
Mack attended four colleges in the court. Catching the eye of Houston the Aggies, Mack decided to put on a show,
five years, and resolved three run-ins coach Pat Foster. Mack began hitting three pointers, slowly
with the law, not exactly making him role Foster took a lot of heat, giving pulling UH back into the game. He scored
model of the year. the Chicago native with such a bad repu- 18 of the Cougars final 26 poin is loi a u mu
tation one more chance at big time college B-Ball.
"I knew there was something
there that could backfire and hurt our
Teammate senior Derrick Daniels
was some what wary of the new forward.
"I was just plain scared of him
when he first got"
here. You hear a
lot of rumors
about a guy like
that. You hear that
he's been in the
pen, that he
robbed a Burger
King, that he likes_
to mug people."
"I thought, 'Hey man, I don't want
to get on that guy's bad side.' But then
when we were around him, we saw that
he wasn't somebody to be afraid of. I
11 All I wanted to do this year in Houston was show people that I'm not just
the guy they heard all the bad stories
about/1 -UH Senior Forward Sam Mack
Photo by Thomas Nguyen
behind, much needed victory. The win kept
the Cougars in a close race for the SWC
Mack also took control of the SWC
the Cougars from behind in a double overtime game against
TCU and a killer game
After a nasty fall in
the TCU game and a
sleepless night with an
team," said Foster. "But I really believed ice pack, Mack dragged Houston through a
that we needed Sam to become the kind
of team we wanted to be."
Mack said, "All I wanted to do
this year in Houston was to show people
think Sam went out of his way to try to fit that I'm not just the guy they heard all the
m,' said Daniels.
While at ISU, he was arrested for
armed robbery at a Burger King (no conviction), a fact that Rice fans would not
let him forget. At a game in Autry Court,
Rice students presented a sea of paper
crowns from the establishment. After the
victory, Mack took one crown back with
"I still have it," he said. "It represents college basketball, and growing
up, taking the good with the bad. If I let
it bother me, I wouldn't have accomplished my goals as a person."
"Sam smiled all day then," Daniels
said. "But I was with him later on that
bad stories about. I wanted to show everybody that basically, I'm a good person.
Foster surrounded the 6-foot-7
senior with a team that hadn't yet been
able to achieve the success it was due,
and with several seniors on the squad,
this was the year to do it.
This was Mack's last shot, his last
tough fight against Texas, scoring 28 points.
Only due to a voting screw-up did Mack
lose being named the tourney's MVR
Then in a first round loss to Georgia
Tech, Mack's inside game was the only
thing keeping the game close.
Mack has learned that his past will
never go away, but all he can do is not
"I'm not trying to duck out on what
happened," Mack said. "I realize that I was
the one who made the mistakes and I'm the
one who's going to have to live with them.
I did it all to myself and nothing I say now
year of eligibility and he set out to prove is going to change that."
that he was coachable, able to act respon- Mack's ability to hit three pointers,
sibly, and to be a leading scorer for the and his slashing moves to the bucket may
Coogs. Mack was able to fulfill every
In his first home game, Mack
scored 23 points coming off the bench
make him a NBA star, but as a crowd favorite at Hofheinz Pavilion, Sam Mack tound
a place he could call home.-John Silver and
night and that thing at Rice hurt him. He against highly rated Villanova. He then