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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Men's Basketball

What Houston, Samspon get from their three newest Cougars


Head coach Kelvin Sampson had praise for the Cougars' three signees, who made their commitments official during the early signing period. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Head coach Kelvin Sampson had praise for the Cougars’ three signees, who made their commitments official during the early signing period. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Head coach Kelvin Sampson welcomed three new Cougars into town Wednesday after Houston announced the trio put their 2020 commitments in writing during the early signing period.

The signees, a 4-star and two 3-stars, picked UH over schools like UCLA, Cal and American Athletic Conference rivals Cincinnati and SMU.

Tramon Mark

Tramon Mark became the first signee for Houston, making his intent to join the Cougars official on Wednesday morning.

A hometown point guard out of Dickinson, Mark is best in Texas and No. 12 in the nation at the position.

“I think he can play all three perimeter positions. He can play point guard and either wing,” Sampson said of Mark, who stands at 6 feet, 4 inches tall. “We’re focused on getting length in our wings now.”

The 4-star Mark averaged 26 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in 2018-19, a season that saw the then-junior put up 52 points on 19 of 34 shooting against Manvel.

“Tramon is a good basketball player,” Sampson said. “High basketball IQ, can score, can pass it and rebound it. We think he can develop into an outstanding player here.”

Jamal Shead

Jamal Shead, a 3-star out of Manor just outside of Austin, joined Mark in signing his letter of intent Wednesday morning.

Shead, who verbally committed to UH in May, received offers from other in-state schools, namely Texas A&M, Texas State and in-conference rival SMU.

“The better players he played against, the better he played,” Sampson said, describing his evaluation of Shead. “He does the the two things that is important in our program: he brings toughness and really guards the ball.”

Sampson, just beginning his sixth season as head coach at Houston after an 84-56 win over Alabama State, had further praise for the future Cougar.

“He plays with a lot of energy,” he said. “He’s a very good ball handler, gets into the lane and can pass.”

Kiyron Powell

The Cougars’ final commitment came from Kiyron Powell, a 3-star Benjamin Bosse High School center from Evansville, Indiana.

“He’s naturally aggressive,” Sampson said. “He’s a very good shot blocker and a rim protector.”

Touted as a “high-level shot blocker” by 247sports, Powell swatted 6.2 shots per game in 2018-19, a stat Sampson may be happy with.

“He’s coming in as the best skilled big man that we’ve had,” he said.

In 19 games with Indy Heat of the D1 Circuit Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, or EYBL, Powell tallied 19 blocks.

But the best part of signing the 6-foot-10-inch center for Sampson?

“Did I mention he was long?”

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