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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Men's Basketball

Grimes learning to ‘punch back’, adopting the Cougars’ culture


Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes is averaging 12.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Cougars in the 2019-20 season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./ The Cougar

Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes is averaging 12.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Cougars in the 2019-20 season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./ The Cougar

Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes has appeared more comfortable and been assertive on the court in the last few contests after initially struggling at the start of conference games, and for head coach Kelvin Sampson it’s a product of him embracing the team’s philosophy.

“His body language, his confidence is coming up,” Sampson said after Sunday’s game against Wichita State. “He is walking around like he got invited to the party instead of crashing it through the backdoor.”

In the win, Grimes led the Cougars with 14 points and also corralled six rebounds.

The 6-foot-5-inch guard out of The Woodlands has scored in double-figures in three out of the last four contests and has moved back into the starting lineup.

“Quentin had some things he had to overcome,” Sampson said. “I give a lot of credit to his teammates…”

On Monday afternoon after practice, Grimes double-downed on the huge role the rest of the Cougars have played in overcoming his adversity.

“I feel like my teammates have my back 110 percent,” Grimes said. “Right now everything’s starting to click for me and the team.”

A lot of the struggles Grimes has had to adjust to have had to deal with learning Houston’s culture.

“I’m really a freshman kind of,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming in trying to learn things. As we got through the season, coach started saying things (about) different tendencies he wants to go to. Getting to learn coach a little bit more (helped).”

Grimes also praised Sampson for helping him adapt to Houston’s expectations.

“We have a great relationship on and off the court,” Grimes said. “He’s really like a big brother a little bit, teaching us everything and new things every practice.”

For Sampson, the biggest change in Grimes has been adopting the team’s moxie and attitude.

“If somebody wants to punch you, you can’t look at him and ask him why’d you punch me,” said Sampson after Sunday’s game. “You got to punch them back.

“That’s the mantra of our program but that wasn’t necessarily (Quentin), and I think he’s slowly but surely buying in and understanding what the culture here is about.”

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