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Friday, July 1, 2022

Commentary

Cougars new depth at point guard promising


After losing three on their last four games, the Cougars got back to winning against the Braves on Monday. | Caitlin Hilton/The Daily Cougar

Senior point guard L.J. Rose and the Cougars will be looking to improve off a strong end to last season. | File photo/The Cougar

The basketball team entered the 2014-2015 season at a disadvantage, falling shorthanded of a true point guard to lead the team. Now, they’re stacked with them.

Guard L.J. Rose was sidelined until December due to a broken foot. Cavon Baker, a transfer from Lee College, took over until his return.

Although Rose returned sooner than anticipated, he was unable to finish out the season after breaking the same foot for the third time in seven months during a conference match against Cincinnati on Feb. 21.

Shooting guard Jherrod Stiggers assisted at point for the remainder of the season.

The Cougars can breathe easy now, though.

Not only is Rose running, playing and able to practice, head coach Kelvin Sampson has strengthened his team with depth at point guard position—bringing in two brand new recruits including transfer Ronnie Johnson, who sat out as a redshirt last season.

With all four players healthy and eager to manage the Cougars to winning heights, it is safe to say the competition is on, and that is a good thing.

Freshman Galen Robinson (6’0”, 170): Although a true freshman, Robinson is looking to join the Cougars and log playing time right away.

As a senior in high school, Robinson received the Guy V. Lewis Award as the city of Houston’s top high school player and was also named to the All-Greater Houston First Team by the Houston Chronicle.

As a junior, Robinson averaged 17 points,  six assists and five rebounds per game at Westbury Christian.

He led the Wildcats to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 4A state championship and was honored as the state tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Sophomore Rob Gray (6’2”, 190): Another fresh face, Gray joins the Cougars after playing two seasons at Howard Junior College.

He led the Hawks to a 24-8 overall record, was a Western Junior College Athletic Association All-Conference and All-Region 5 First-Team honoree.

Gray logged 23 games with double digits and recorded 20+ points in 14 games.

During the Cougars trip to China, Gray logged 14 points in his debut and led all players with 24 points in team’s final game of the best-of-three series against the Qingdao Doublestars.

Junior Ronnie Johnson (6’0”, 180 pounds): As one of head coach Kelvin Sampson’s first recruits, Johnson sat out the 2014-2015 season as a redshirt after transferring from Purdue University and did not compete in any games.

Starting all but one of 32 games at Purdue, Johnson finished as the team’s second leading scorer with 10.8 points per game.

He led the Boiler-Makers with 3.2 assists per game and added 2.8 rebounds per contest.

Johnson began the 14-15 season with nine consecutive double-digit games and finished the year with 10 points, three assists and three rebounds against the Ohio State University at the Big Ten Championship.

Senior L.J. Rose (6’3”, 200): The team’s returning point guard enters his senior year after being sidelined the final four games of the 2014-2015 season due to a broken foot.

Rose became the 17th player in school history with multiple 100-assist seasons during his career and led the Cougars with 101 assists in 19 games.

He fell just shy of ranking in the American Athletic Conference for the second-straight season with 5.3 assists per game.

Rose recorded 12 points with four rebounds and five assists with no turnovers in 35 minutes against UConn, leading a Houston offense that committed a school record-low one turnover against the Huskies.

Houston is now loaded with a good mix of young talent and valuable experience, and the depth provided will benefit in the coming season.

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