Playing favorites: Coogs freshman developed affinity for teammate during NCAA Tournament

Adam Winkler Image
Friday, March 22, 2024
Coogs freshman developed affinity for teammate during NCAA Tournament
UH freshman Jacob McFarland tells senior J'Wan Roberts he was his favorite player before playing alongside each other at the NCAA Tournament.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With as much success as he's had, when head coach Kelvin Sampson talks, his players listen. But it was something Sampson heard from his players recently that moved him.

"It just took me aback," Sampson admitted to reporters prior to his team's NCAA Tournament opener.

The Coogs head coach said he was walking behind senior J'Wan Roberts and freshman Jacob McFarland when McFarland shared something with his teammate.

RELATED: No. 1 UH faces upset-minded Longwood Lancers, whose coach and 3 players have Houston ties

"He told J'Wan even before he started coming to school here that J'Wan was his favorite player," Sampson shared. "He told him he remembered watching him in the NCAA Tournament. That's pretty cool that he would even say it."

Eyewitness Sports wanted to see what else McFarland would say about it here in Memphis.

"It felt good to get off my chest," McFarland said with a smile. "He really is my favorite player. He's the most underrated player in college basketball."

McFarland and Roberts are linked in another way, too. Like McFarland is doing right now as a freshman, Roberts redshirted his first season at the University of Houston with an eye on developing for the future.

"It definitely means a lot," Roberts said of hearing McFarland say that to him. "Especially knowing I've been in his shoes before. Getting to where I am now and all the sacrifices I had to make. Hopefully he can do the same thing and surrender to the program and realize how good he can be."

These Coogs realize the NCAA Tournament is a chance to not only pick up wins but also pick up fans who might suit up for the program down the line.

For more sports news, follow Adam Winkler on Facebook, X and Instagram.

RELATED: UH wants the 'homecourt advantage' in Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight set for Dallas