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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Men's Basketball

Time at UH was about family for two seniors


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Senior forward Devonta Pollard says his time at UH has been where he found a true home with his teammates and his coaches. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

With men’s basketball having wrapped up its season three weeks ago, four seniors have completed their time as part of the Cougars’ squad, including Eric Weary Jr. and Devonta Pollard.

Pollard and Weary were two of the fresh faces bought in at the beginning of the Kelvin Sampson era when he joined the program two years ago.

The Cougar sat down with the players one last time to reflect on their time at the University and find out if their basketball road ends here.


 

The Cougar: What would you guys say was your fondest or happiest memory during your time at Houston?

Eric Weary Jr.: I’d have to say my entire senior year. Seeing how we started and where we started from, it was definitely a positive way to end my career. Our record was better, and for me that was a good way to finish.

Devonta Pollard: I would have to say the trip to China, just because of the time that I had to spend with my brothers, with no Internet, no phone and things like that. It just brought us closer together as a team. If it wasn’t for that trip, I don’t think I would know each of my teammates the way that I do now.

TC: How has playing here been beneficial to your growth?

EW: I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here. Coach has shown me a lot of things. I’ve been through a lot of trials and tribulations with him and the team, and that has helped me. He always tells me that he got me, and so I just plan on finishing out the year and seeing where I can go from here.

DP: The people around me, as far as helping me and supporting me the way that they do, and being there when I needed them. They’ve helped me communication-wise, being able to talk me through situations and keep me settled and calm instead of walking around here with my head held down wondering ‘what am I going to do now’ or ‘what am I going to do next’.

TC: Your time as college athletes is officially over. Is it bittersweet, or are you excited about what’s to come?

EW: It’s kind of bittersweet, because I’ve been in school so long, and it actually started to get fun as I got here, but I feel like I’m still a part of the family even after I leave. I’m sad that it’s my senior year, but I know this University is going to be nothing but positive with Coach Sampson.

DP: The basketball part is sad and bittersweet because at the end of the day, as a basketball player, of course all of the conditioning and stuff, you’re ready for it to end. As far as games and being able to play with your teammates, you don’t want that to end. But school, I’m happy it’s over. I’m going to hate leaving my brothers, because of all the teams that I’ve played for, this team this year probably was closer to me and bonded more with me than my two previous teams.

TC: Do you see yourselves returning to Houston, being that neither of you are from here?

EW: If I take on a pro career, I’ll probably be in Houston longer than I’d originally thought. I’ll probably use the development center as a workout tool, and New Orleans is only four to five hours away from here, so I’ll always be good to come back.

DP: Last year, I told myself that no matter what I did after college, I wanted to put a house in Houston. I just love Houston and the school. The coaching staff: they made me feel at home without being at home. I plan on putting a house in my hometown, but if everything works out right, and I play ball after college, I want my second house to be here.

TC: So what’s the next step after graduation?

EW: I actually have two options—either the workforce or basketball—but as of now I’m just focusing on my studies and trying to see where that takes me. Having both options is definitely a good thing, so I’m just weighing them out as I go through this semester. I’m majoring in psychology. I like to talk to people, I’m good with communication, and I have a connection with the guy who’s working with the University, and he told me that he’d like for me to be his assistant, so I could also go that route and learn from him.

DP: As of now, I’m still trying to figure out which agent I’m going to sign with and whatnot, and then, after that, I’m going to see where I’ll go to train and work out, and see where it goes after that. Hopefully it doesn’t take long. Overseas ball is fine, but of course everyone’s dream is to go to the League. That’s what I’m aiming for, but if I have to go overseas, it wouldn’t be something that I’d be mad about doing.

TC: How has the program changed since you guys have been here?

EW: You always have to start somewhere, and I feel like my junior year was a groundbreaking year for this program. I feel like senior year was maybe two or three steps toward the right direction for us.

DP: When I first got here, I think there were people who supported UH basketball, but they weren’t around and showing their faces. Just to have the support and see the support, that was a change that I saw as the year went on, and also seeing the new facility and what they want to do to Hofheinz. It really is good to be a Cougar.

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