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Monday, October 25, 2021

Men's Basketball

Homemade: Tramon Mark stays true to his Dickinson roots


BLOOMINGTON, IN - MARCH 19: Tramon Mark #12 of the Houston Cougars during the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 19, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

BLOOMINGTON, IN – MARCH 19: Tramon Mark #12 of the Houston Cougars during the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 19, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

With seconds ticking off the clock in Houston’s round of 32 matchup against Rutgers, Tramon Mark added another chapter to his legacy in the UH basketball program.

The 6-foot-5-inch true freshman guard already had a few milestones to his name, including scoring 22 points in his collegiate debut and hitting a miracle buzzer-beater from near half-court to lift the Cougars over Memphis in their regular-season finale, but Sunday night he did something UH fans will never forget.

Down nine with 4:55 to go in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, it looked like the Cougars season was coming to an end as Rutgers had a 90.2 percent chance to win the game according to ESPN, but the Cougars had other plans.

After chipping away at the deficit, UH had the ball with 31 seconds on the clock down two. Senior guard DeJon Jarreau drove down the lane and rose up for a floater that hit the front of the rim.

Mark, who was standing near the right corner 3-point line when the shot went up, suddenly skied in through a crowd and touched the ball, guiding it through the hoop while he was simultaneously in mid-air.

On top of that, Mark was fouled and calmly sunk the biggest free throw of his life, completing the 3-point play and sending the Cougars back to the Sweet Sixteen.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, one of Mark’s ex-teammates was watching the game. While thrilled with the play, he was not surprised that Mark was able to deliver.

“I was just like that is what (Mark) does. He’s an amazing player,” said Marcus Williams, who played with Mark at Dickinson High School and is now at Wyoming where he was recently named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year. “… He made a big-time (play) when needed. That’s just what he’s been doing since he’s was young so it ain’t nothing new to me.”

Deuce Guidry, another one of Mark’s teammates at Dickinson who now plays collegiately for Texas State, has had a special bond with Mark since the two were in fourth grade. Guidry called Mark”his closest friend” even to this day. Mark described Guidry as a brother

The two talk almost every day and Guidry made sure to call his good friend after Mark’s heroics against Rutgers so that he could share in the excitement.

“(Tramon Mark) was very excited and I was too,” Guidry said. “We just talked it out and (Mark) deserves to bring a title back to Houston.”

Jason Wilson, Mark’s four-year coach at Dickinson, had trouble putting into words how much it means to him to see one of his former players excel on national television. He called the moment indescribable and unbelievable.

While Mark has gotten praised by the UH program and all its fans for his contributions to the team’s success, Mark recognizes how much Wilson and the Dickinson basketball program did for him and knows he could not be where he is today without their support.

“I knew (Wilson and the Dickinson coaching staff) would always support me when I left Dickinson and I’m glad I’m able to do things I’m doing here at UH,” Mark said.  “For (Wilson) along with my family and (high school) teammates to support me is just great.”

But the love and support for Mark at UH does not just stop with the Dickinson basketball program, but the entire Dickinson community also has No. 12’s back and are his biggest cheerleaders.

Dickinson ISD announced that Friday will be UH day as a way of honoring Mark and supporting him and the Cougars as they continue their March Madness run.

The fact that Mark’s alma mater dedicated an entire day for Mark and his new team left him in awe.

“I saw (the announcement) on Twitter and then my old classmates started sending it to me,” Mark said. “For (Dickinson) to do that for me, it’s crazy. Just to know that they’re supporting me and the whole Dickinson community is supporting me is a great feeling.”

Despite lighting up social media and taking college basketball fans across the country by storm for his play in the month of March, Mark has not allowed being in the spotlight to make him forget his roots.

“(After UH’s win over Rutgers) we spoke and I joked around with him. I said man you’re such a big-time superstar now. You don’t have time to talk to me,” Wilson said. “(Tramon Mark) just laughed and said, ‘never coach. I’ll always find time to talk you.’”

For more on The Cougar’s coverage of UH’s run in the NCAA Tournament, click here.

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