Men's Basketball

Stiggers stares down upcoming challenge


The Cougars’ leading scorer, redshirt junior guard Jherrod Stiggers, looks to help his family financially by playing overseas. | File Photo/The Cougar

When Jherrod Stiggers left his small hometown of Terrell four years ago to start his career at UH, he assumed he wouldn’t play past college.

He’s now looking to carry himself to new heights, and most importantly, to support his family by pursuing a career as a professional basketball player.

“I had never thought about going pro until after the season, when agents started approaching me,” said Stiggers.

“I had a talk with one and became acquainted with him, and he told me what my future could be at the next level if I decided to forego my last year and take that option, so I just decided to do it.”

Stiggers initially had plans to become a graduate assistant at the University upon graduation and then work his way towards becoming a coach. After speaking with the agents, he began to feel that this move was right for him.

He signed a contract on March 24.

Throughout his best season to date, Stiggers would continuously reflect deeply on his situation back home, knowing that while he was living out his dream, his family still suffered financially.

“I had to make this move for my family,” said Stiggers.

Although supportive of Stiggers’ decision, his mother was concerned about whether her son would still graduate college as he’d promised. Stiggers would be the first in his family to do so, and he said he has every intention to keep that promise this December.

“I had a conversation with the athletic director, and he told me that wherever I go, I can still finish my classes online and graduate in December,” said Stiggers. “I still go to class, still see my adviser, and she gets me right with my classes. Nothing has changed really. It’s just that I am leaving.”

Throughout the years, Stiggers’ entire family has packed up their vehicle and made the three-hour drive from Terrell to Houston just to watch him play, sometimes driving home the same night because of work the next day.

Not seeing those faces in the stands is a new reality he is prepared for.

“I can always come back,” said Stiggers. “They also told me that I could take someone with me. I plan on taking my brother if I do go (overseas), so that I’ll have someone there with me.

He chose to keep his decision between himself and members of his immediate family, shocking his Cougar family once the news finally hit. No one else knew of his plans to depart, not even head coach Kelvin Sampson.

“I had a meeting with my coach…and when I told him, he just wanted to know where I got it (the contract) from and who I am working with and dealing with,” said Stiggers. “He wasn’t really mad, he was just concerned about my well-being, where I’d be, and how I’ll maintain after college. He didn’t have a problem with it; he was just trying to help me.”

For Stiggers, the time is now.

“I’m ready to move forward. I don’t have a choice now, but I’m ready.”

It isn’t just that Stiggers knows he’s ready to make the jump to the pros. He said his faith leads him to not question what life throws at him.

“If it wasn’t meant, if it wasn’t the God way, it wouldn’t happen,” said Stiggers.

For Stiggers, the time is now. He said his decision to hire an agent was never about him entering the draft.

“I’ve always wanted to play overseas really,” said Stiggers. “I’m not really too worried about the NBA.”

As for those who question whether or not Stiggers, who averaged 14.2 points per game and ranked in the top 20 nationally in three-point shooting, is ready to play at the next level, he says it isn’t always about who has the most talent.

“I’m just a hard-nosed, tough player that will do whatever the coach says,” said Stiggers. “Sometimes it’s about who plays the hardest. I got heart, and I always play hard.”

No matter what happens, Stiggers is content with his decision and looking ahead. He doesn’t have the slightest idea of what’s to come, but with trust in his fath, he said he knows he’s in good hands.

“I’ve done a lot that a lot of people where I’m from didn’t do, so if I don’t go any further than right now, I feel as though I am successful. I made it to college, I played college ball, I am blessed. So, if I don’t go further than this, I’m all right.”

[email protected]

Leave a Comment