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College Basketball

Omar Samhan: NCAA Tournament Beast, Closet Teeny-Bopper

Right now, it’s Omar Samhan’s world, we’re just living in it.

Many have referred to Samhan as a breath of fresh air in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Not only is he been a dominant force in St. Mary’s first two tournament games, averaging 30.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, his interactions with the media have caused him to become one of the more potent quotables (to bastardize a category from Jeopardy) in recent tourney memory.

Some of his better one-liners thus far:

On how the Australian players at Saint Mary’s have brought a different mix to the team: “That and a bunch of bad-tasting food — Vegemite.”

On having “BEAST” tattooed on the inside of his lower lip: “Everyone has tattoos on their arms. That’s nothing. I got my mouth tatted.”

On being a big man who likes to play on the post : “I think the paint’s sexy.”

Indeed. But perhaps Samhan’s most, um, interesting quote deals with what he listens to on his iPod to get himself pumped up before tip-off: Taylor Swift. Wha?

He likes to chill out to the sweet sounds of Taylor Swift, an artist whose songs – such as “Love Story” and “Teardrops on My Guitar” – are more likely to show up on iPods of the teen or ‘tween female set.

Doesn’t matter. Samhan makes no apologies for his choice in tunes.

“People think it’s weird,” he said. “But there is so much emotion and excitement before these games, it just kind of slows you down. And it keeps me mellow, because I’m just like a time bomb waiting to go off.”

Oh dear. What? No Boz Scaggs, B.J. Thomas or Captain & Tennille? Now, that’s some “chilling out before getting pumped up” music right there. Come on, dude!

I suppose there could be worse music he could listen to before games, but that doesn’t mean we should let him off easy for his musical tastes. Nevertheless, Samhan’s affinity for the bubble gum country of Taylor Swift may be due to ulterior motives:

When asked about his musical tastes on Thursday, Samhan asked if the cameras were on before staring straight into them with a message for her.

“I love you, Taylor. You should call me,” he said before adding that he sometimes feels as though she’s singing directly to him.

“I love her, and I’m going to keep listening to her,” he said.

Damn straight, dude. I can totally understand that angle. Who among us doesn’t own an album of two from female performers simply because of their attractiveness? Speaking for myself, there have been plenty of female musicians that old Weed has taken a liking to over the years for that very reason: Shania Twain, Dido, Fiona Apple, Canadian songbird Anne Murray, just to name a few.

Taylor Swift is Omar Samhan’s pregame muse [Sporting News]
Saint Mary’s Samhan is somewhat quotable [ESPN]