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Friday, December 8, 2023

Men's Basketball

Marcus Sasser returning to UH for 2022-23 season

Marcus Sasser led UH in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game, early in the 2021-22 season before suffering a season-ending foot injury in December. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

Marcus Sasser led UH in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game, early in the 2021-22 season before suffering a season-ending foot injury in December. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

Kelvin Sampson and the UH men’s basketball program got a major boost on Wednesday as star guard Marcus Sasser announced that he is returning for the 2022-23 season.

“Houston we got unfinished business,” Sasser wrote on his Twitter and Instagram.

Sasser got off to a hot start to the 2021-22 season, averaging 17.7 points per game and shooting 43.7 percent from 3-point range, but was limited to only 12 games before suffering a hairline fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot that required season-ending surgery.

Once the Cougars’ NCAA Tournament run ended in the Elite Eight, Sasser announced in April that he was declaring for the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility.

In May, Sasser was cleared to return to five-on-five basketball for the first time since suffering his injury in December and was one of the standouts in the NBA G League Elite Camp, averaging 17 points on 52.6 percent shooting from the field to go along with 5.5 rebounds and five assists. As a result, Sasser earned an invite to the NBA Draft Combine.

At the combine, Sasser shot 2-for-7 from the field and dished out six assists.

Through the combine and individual workouts, Sasser got plenty of feedback on his game, both in terms of his strengths and weaknesses and how it can translate to the NBA level.

β€œ(NBA personnel) liked me as a floor spacer, as being able to knock down a shot, being a great defender on the ball,” Sasser said. β€œMy playmaking ability is getting better but they want to see it at a higher level.”

Sasser said he remained 50-50 on whether to return to UH or stay in the draft throughout the entire process. Sasser worked out with the Orlando Magic earlier in the day before flying back to Chicago and having one last conversation with his family and agents before making his decision.

In the end, Sasser said his doubt about getting drafted combined with the advice he received from those close to him and the potential for the Cougars to win a national title in the city of Houston made it an easy decision to remove his name from the draft and return to UH.

β€œI feel like it was just the best choice for me to come back,” Sasser said.Β β€œIt won’t do nothing but help me. I feel like coming back will help me become a better player all-around and be more prepared for (the NBA Draft) next year.”

Sasser along Jamal Shead, Tramon Mark, Ramon Walker Jr., Texas Tech transfer Mylik Wilson and incoming freshman Terrance Arceneaux and Emanuel Sharp make up the highly-talented 2022-23 UH backcourt. The frontcourt is highlighted by five-star power forward Jarace Walker along with veteran returners J’Wan Roberts and Reggie Chaney.

Entering the offseason, UH was ranked as a consensus preseason top five team in the country amongst most experts, including ranking second in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25. With Sasser returning to UH, the Cougars remain one of the favorites to reach the 2023 Final Four which will be held at NRG Stadium.

β€œHaving the Final Four in Houston was a big factor,” Sasser said. β€œTo leave on a national championship would be one of the best things to happen in my life. That would be a thing I would never forget.”

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