Men's Basketball

Knowles: UH men’s basketball’s ‘go-to’ guy


Sophomore Danrad “Chicken” Knowles has made the most of his playing time during the Cougars’ struggle season as he has put up 221 points over 20 games, including a career-high 31 against Tulane on Jan. 17. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

Said to be “almost comatose” at the beginning of the season by head coach Kelvin Sampson, the 6’10, 190-pound forward Danrad “Chicken” Knowles has awoken and formed an identity of his own as the starting center on a Cougar team that is still in the process of rebuilding.

While on a losing streak, the Nassau Bahamas native averaged 23.5 points per game, leading the Cougars with 17 field goals, four 3-pointers, nine free throws in 14 attempts and four blocked shots, increasing his role on the team as well as his productivity.

The Cougar: Talk about this elevation in your game that has happened over the last few weeks. What was the driving force that made you step it up?

Danrad Knowles: Coach Sampson had a talk with me and told me to practice harder. Just practice harder, and I started doing that and it just started coming together. I am just trying to win, and I am trying to get better. I’m trying to do more offensively and defensively and help the team win. It’s not quite working yet, but I am going to continue to do my best to play even harder next time.

TC: After the game vs. Tulane, Coach Sampson said you had no idea how good of a player you could be. What did he mean by that?

DK: I never really thought about it like that because every team I played on I was usually like a third option, so I came here thinking the same thing. Coach always told me that I could be one of the best players on the team, but I don’t take it like that because I don’t want to step on my teammate’s toes. I don’t mind taking a backseat sometimes, but I had to step it up because you have to produce more if they want more.

TC: You’re becoming more of a “go-to” guy, and Sampson said you’re now involved in everything they do. Had you ever imagined being that guy?

DK: Being the “go-to” guy? I don’t want the title, really. If they want me to attack, I’ll attack the basket. If they want me to rebound and block shots, I will. I just do what he asks.

TC: You are forced to matchup against guys who could be as big as 250 pounds. How different for you is playingU center versus playing forward? Is it challenging?

DK: It’s always a challenge because most of the guys I have to guard are like 6’10, 250 (pounds) and everyone always says I’m like 180 pounds soaking wet. At the end of the day you still have to compete because just like I have to guard them, they have to guard me. They have to guard me on the wing; I have to guard them on the post.

TC: You posted a career-high 31 points against Tulane, including two treys, and were awarded the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll. Are you looking to rack up more accolades going forward?

DK: I just want to win. That’s it.

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