Hinton: conference games are ‘a different season’
Houston wrapped up its non-conference portion of the schedule by winning the Diamond Head Classic as they defeated three teams, which included No. 21 Washington in the finals to become the tournament champions, and now they prepare for the American conference part of the season.
“We took a little step forward to keep getting better,” sophomore guard Nate Hinton said about what the team learned in Hawaii. “We came together a lot. Finding different ways how to win. Knowing, trying to figure out our identity, figuring who we are supposed to be and carry it on to conference.”
Although the Cougars saw a lot of success in the first 13 games of the season, there were still challenges the team had to work through as every team does when a new campaign begins.
“So many expectations coming in, we had to work kinks out,” Hinton said. “A lot of chemistry (the team had to work on) together, knowing how people play, and it’s just knowing how everybody plays and just (continuing to play) games, and working at it, not getting too frustrated with it.”
With Houston about to begin the games against the American, Hinton reflects on the difference in competition and compares where he is at this point from where he was last year as a freshman.
“It’s a different season. Last year going in it was kind of, I was taking it all in, but this year I know the ins and outs of everything and know the stakes at this point,” Hinton said. “We got banners going up, that’s is where we are trying to get.”
Hinton knows that Houston will have a target on their backs after finishing with a 16-2 record in the American in 2018-19, which was No. 1 in the conference.
“It’s a different challenge for us,” Hinton said. “I feel like now we are in too deep for us to not embrace it, so now it’s like OK we are the defending champs, everyone is going to obviously come for us, but we are not trying to focus on defending. We are trying to get another one for this group of guys.”