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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Men's Basketball

Trash Can Man wows as UH’s newest tactic

The number on Trash Can Man’s famous sign actually sends callers to the UH Athletics ticket office. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Many fans who weren’t in attendance during Trash Can Man’s first outing against the USF Bulls were likely confused when an oversized, red trashcan was wheeled courtside in the second half against the UCF Knights.

Was a custodian lost? Was cleanup set to begin early so staff could get home in time for “American Idol?” The truth is, the trashcan held within its confines men’s basketball’s newest homecourt weapon.

Trash Can Man, aka architecture sophomore Luis Lemus, is the newest addition to the raucous Fertitta Center environment.

Lemus has one job and one job only: wait for his handler’s signal then explode through the lid of the trashcan and try his best to distract visiting team’s free-throw shooters.

His courtside seat comes without the usual furnishings, exchanging a cushioned chair and great view of the game for a cramped space, a livestream of the match on his phone and props like wigs and signs.

“It kind of all started when I got contacted through an Instagram page I made last year called ‘Discount Rob Gray,’” Lemus said. “They saw that page and saw I was devoted to the team, and they said, ‘We gotta get this guy out here and do something ridiculous.’”

The USF Bulls shot a paltry 13-of-22 from the charity stripe during Lemus’s first showing, but the UCF Knights managed to go 13-of-15 when he reprised his role a week later.

While it may never be a true X’s and O’s strategy to rely on, Trash Can Man is popular enough to turn into a Cougar tradition for years to come.

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