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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Men's Basketball

Roundtable: Our picks for men’s basketball MVPs


Redshirt senior guard Rob Gray Jr. is again the team’s leading scorer, making him a candidate for team MVP. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

The men’s basketball team only has 11 games remaining this season, and the team is on pace to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Players have stepped up across the court and the bench to try and take the Cougars to heights they have not reached since 2010.

Winning in basketball is always a team effort, but we have left it to three of our sports writers to pick their personal MVP for basketball so far.

Staff writer Christopher McGehee

The MVP of the Cougars’ basketball season is redshirt senior forward Devin Davis, and it is not a close race.

The Cougars are 15-4 this season with their most recent victory coming over then-seventh ranked Wichita State Shockers, the Cougars’ first win over a top-10 program in 22 years, and that’s not something that would be possible without Davis.

In his last year of eligibility, Davis has been a mentor for all the younger players on the team, making it so the Cougars will continue to have success after he is gone.

Davis leads the team in rebounding (121), even though at 6’6 he is not the tallest or stoutest man on the team.

He has also transformed into a scoring threat inside, averaging 10.8 points per game (third on the team), which has opened up outside looks for teammates Rob Gray and Corey Davis Jr.

If the Cougars want to make some noise during a post-season run, they will need to rely on their foundation, Devin Davis.

Staff writer Andrew Tuan

The most valuable player for Houston is none other than redshirt senior guard Rob Gray.

Gray’s calling card has always been his scoring. His uncanny ability to score from anywhere on the floor resulted in him being the conference’s leading scorer last year.

Although Gray’s scoring average has dipped slightly from last year, he is still averaging a conference high 19.7 points per game. He is arguably the most explosive scorer with two 30-plus point games, something no one else in the conference has done.

Some major leaps Gray made this season are his passing ability and willingness to pass, as head coach Kelvin Sampson challenged him to take on more of a distributing role this season due to more scorers on the Cougars’ roster this year.

Gray has responded, averaging a career high four assists per game, which is sixth in the conference.

Staff writer Trenton Whiting

It would be easy to give the title of team MVP to Gray or Davis, two of the best players in the American Athletic Conference, but the Cougars would not have enjoyed their current success if it were not for junior point guards Corey Davis Jr. and Galen Robinson.

The addition of transfer student Davis Jr. has been invaluable, and Robinson is having another solid season. The two players have shared the starting position and glue the team together.

Davis Jr. is a slightly better scorer than Robinson, but their value is not bound to just offense.

They are often diving for loose balls, taking charges and putting their bodies on the line to win. It has become more and more apparent that Davis Jr. is the best defender on the team, with Robinson in a close second.

The pair has not allowed an opposing guard to score 20 points since the second game of the season.
They recently held Wichita State’s star player, Landry Shamet, to just seven points and the rest of the Shocker guards to 13 combined.

While Davis Jr. and Robinson are part of the defensive back bone for the Cougars, they are not slouches on the offense either.

Davis Jr. averages around 12 points per game, and Robinson is in the top-20 in UH history for thrown assists.

Davis Jr. and Robinson exemplify the best parts of team basketball. Their efforts have helped the Cougars achieve one of their best records in recent history and a shot at the NCAA tournament.

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