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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Commentary

Senior leadership at guard spots will keep Cougars alive


LeRon Barnes

Red-shirt senior LeRon Barnes was a leader for the Cougars both on defense and in rebounding, and looks ready to continue those trends in his final year at UH. | File photo/The Cougar

Men’s basketball will look to improve on a less-than-stellar 2014-15 campaign under second-year coach Kelvin Sampson.

Among the areas that need attention is the Cougars backcourt and this year’s roster returns three players who saw meaningful minutes last year, whether at the point or shooting guard position.

With eight total guards on this year’s team, a bulk of the burden for the team will be placed on program newcomers.

L.J. Rose (6’3”, 200): One source of relief can be found in the return of the senior guard who led the team in total assists (101) despite only playing 19 games.

In fact, Rose would have led the American Athletic Conference in assists per game (5.3) for a second straight year if he was not derailed by injuries.

In basketball, the point guard is often referred to as an extension of the head coach on the floor and now that he’s fully healthy, Rose will need to fulfill this role in order for the team to begin its ascension.

LeRon Barnes (6’5”, 195): The senior guard has an innate ability to feel a game out and determine what facet his team needs his contribution in and then fill that exact role.

Whether it be scoring, defending or leading the team in rebounds, expect Barnes to approach each game with a “glue guy” mentality, ready to step in and fulfill whatever role the team needs him to.

Eric Weary Jr. (6’4”, 210):  A consistent recipe for a strong backcourt is an experienced backcourt; alongside Rose and Barnes, Weary will provide critical senior leadership this year.

Weary started hot, but his shooting touch tapered off towards the end of last season.

This year, the senior should look to be aggressive on offense as Sampson looks to fill scoring voids from the departure of leading scorer Jherrod Stiggers.

New Additions:

Galen Robinson Jr. (6’0”, 170): Son of Galen Robinson Sr., who donned the Houston uniform in the ’94-’98 seasons, Robinson Jr. was born with the Cougar red blood coursing through him.

In his senior year at Westbury Christian High School, Robinson earned the Guy V. Lewis Award, given to Houston’s top high school player and led his school to their third consecutive Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state championship.

The freshman has an opportunity to earn some playing time and be a special player while here at UH.

Ronnie Johnson (6’0”, 180): A transfer from Purdue University will surely add scoring to the Cougar lineup this season. At Purdue, he was a consistent scoring option and ranked second on the team in points his last year there.

A bonus will be his comfortability in facilitating for others. In his last year at Purdue, Johnson led the Boilermakers in assists.

Damyean Dotson (6’5”, 210): Another new face that will help fill the scoring burden this year is Dotson.

Of the 33 games he started his sophomore year at Oregon, he reached double figures in scoring 16 times. That scoring ability, along with his great athleticism, will be on display this coming season.

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