Men's Basketball Sports

‘Brick by brick’: UH men’s basketball team coming together

Sophomore guard Tramon Mark looks to be more of a playmaker and shot creator for the UH men's basketball team in the 2021-22 season. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

Sophomore guard Tramon Mark looks to be more of a playmaker and shot creator for the UH men’s basketball team in the 2021-22 season. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

39.8 points, 22.7 rebounds, 7.8 assists and countless intangibles are what the 2021-22 UH men’s basketball program will have to replace on a nightly basis after losing four starters from last season’s Final Four team.

“Last year we had so many guys coming back,” said UH men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson. “This year we lost four guys that basically started (all of last season), so we’re having to indoctrinate a lot of guys into how we play.”

But Sampson has been in this situation before, finding success after having to replace players like Rob Gray, Corey Davis Jr., Galen Robinson Jr. and Armoni Brooks in previous seasons at UH.

Even with the departures of Quentin Grimes, DeJon Jarreau, Justin Gorham and Brison Gresham, the Cougars return key components of last year’s team in guards Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark and forwards Fabian White and Reggie Chaney.

While the Cougars will still rely on Mark and Sasser’s scoring, the two guards will also step into a new role as being playmakers and shot creators for their teammates this season.

Sasser has come a long way over the past month taking over a bigger role as a ballhandler, Sampson said.

Mark feels comfortable in his new role and believes he will take the next step as a player during his sophomore season.

“I can definitely get myself shots and my team shots I think at any time I want,” Mark said. “I just got to go out there and do it.”

White, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, has impressed Sampson throughout the offseason.

“I think (White) has been our best player,” Sampson said. “If I had to say who’s been our best player and most consistent guy in practice every day I would say Fabian.”

Chaney worked on expanding his range over the offseason and has also caught Sampson’s eye with his offseason play.

Chaney believes the Cougars’ frontcourt is coming together nicely, putting in long hours to perfect two of the staples that Sampson demands from his big men.

“I feel like we have a really good big group in the fours and the fives,” Chaney said. “The thing that we try to emphasize always is rebounding. That’s No. 1. But another thing I feel like we try to emphasize is just when we get the ball just finishing.”

Kyler Edwards, Josh Carlton and Taze Moore, the three new guys that Sampson said the Cougars will count on the most of all the new faces in the program, are all transfers who come to UH with loads of college basketball experience under their belts.

Altogether, the 2021-22 Cougars’ roster features lots of new faces but it is built on the same principles that have helped UH emerge as a national contender under Sampson — and the program is confident that they have the pieces to build another successful team that is a threat come March.

“When you put the season together, you just do it brick by brick,” Sampson said.

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