UH is joining one of two preeminent basketball conferences in the nation for the 2013-2014 season, when it enters the Big East. If continued success is the goal, the Cougars need to take another step in recruiting.
Without a trophy case to match championship programs like Georgetown, Syracuse and Connecticut, UH has to balance the scales with other factors.
Women’s basketball head coach Todd Buchanan said he wants to offer a unique environment that prospective recruits and their family would like to be a part of.
“I don’t make a lot of promises,” Buchanan said. “My promise to them as parents is that I’m going to take care of their daughter just like I’m going to take care of that guy right there,” Buchanan said, pointing to a photo of his 3-year-old son, Colton.
Family sells. It is often an underestimated aspect of sports. Viewing your team as your family glues a team together through hard times. Camaraderie and chemistry are built through time and trust.
The Big East sells too, and it will allow UH to broaden its recruiting base.
“We go in and we look for more physical kids – the athleticism changes,” said Ravon Justice, recruiting coordinator. “Kids are excited. They feel like if they’re the best, they want to play against the best.”
For men’s basketball coach James Dickey, the goal is to recruit talent from Houston and surrounding areas. If players can compete on the highest stage at a viable basketball program near home, they may be more inclined to attend UH.
Freshmen Danuel House and Danrad Knowles are prime examples of what UH can expect — highly touted recruits who turned down other offers in order to play for the Cougars.
“Looking from abroad, I always thought (the University of Houston) had a chance to make major damage if two things could happen,” said Associate Coach Alvin Brooks. “One, if they could get into a much more competitive league where they can get national exposure, and that’s happened with the Big East. And another thing is if they could upgrade the facilities. That’s in the works — Mack Rhodes has already put together a plan.”
In men’s basketball, greater talent usually equals greater turnover of players. UH isn’t scared of one-and-done players, though.
“We want to recruit the best players, obviously those guys, more than likely have a chance to play beyond college,” said Ronnie Hamilton, assistant coach. “If a guy can stay here one year, two years or three years and it helps him and helps the program, more than likely, it means we’re having success. We welcome that.”