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Friday, July 10, 2020

Men's Basketball

Sasser reflects on ‘grind’ he has been through since arriving at UH


Freshman guard Marcus Sasser is averaging 6.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in the 2019-20 season for Houston. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

Freshman guard Marcus Sasser is averaging 6.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in the 2019-20 season for Houston. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

On his radio show on Monday evening, head coach Kelvin Sampson focused on the growth of one of his freshman players in the 2019-20 season, Marcus Sasser.

“Marcus is getting better,” Sampson said. “Being a freshman (in February) is not the same as it is in October or November. He has some scars on his back, and he’s figured some things out.”

For the head coach, he has been impressed with the 6-foot-1-inch guard’s persistence in handling adversity over the summer and early in the season.

“Marcus was not very good in June, July, August, and he was terrible in September,” Sampson said. “There were some days where I thought he was going to cry and quit… but sometimes you got to battle through adversity to find out about yourself… and he didn’t quit, and he kept coming back, and look at him now.”

Sasser has had to work hard since the moment he stepped foot on campus to catch up to the speed of his teammates.

“Every single day (has been) a grind since I got there,” Sasser said. “My first practice was kind of bad. I had a lot of turnovers. I had to run a lot. Every single day is high intensity, there’s no day of practice we come in and its light ’cause (Sampson) tells us all the time, ‘there’s a banner up there and if you want that banner, it takes a lot.’ ”

Once the games began, Sasser also had to take time to adapt to a different style.

“(The college game) is definitely faster and, because of the pace we play at, we got to be in tip-top shape,” Sasser said. “Everybody is stronger… Basically, the speed of the game is the biggest difference.”

Sasser has now started in the last four-straight games for Houston, with all four resulting in wins, and he has hit two 3-pointers in three of the four games.

For the Red Oak native, the turning point of his season came against Oregon.

“I had to guard a senior (Payton Pritchard),” Sasser said. “And that’s when I learned that college basketball is real, and that’s when I believed that I could play in the NCAA.”

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