Men's Basketball Sports

‘I’m cooking tonight’: UH’s Ryan Elvin’s skills go beyond the basketball court

Nothing excites the Fertitta Center crowd more than when walk-on guard Ryan Elvin takes the court for the Cougars. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

Nothing excites the Fertitta Center crowd more than when walk-on guard Ryan Elvin takes the court for the Cougars. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

Whenever Ryan Elvin sends a message to the Houston men’s basketball team’s group chat concerning food, one thing rushes through everyone’s mind — you better be fast.

All rules go out the window as a mad dash to Elvin’s room among his teammates ensues.

“We will be running to his room, fighting over the last stuff,” said UH point guard Jamal Shead.

UH star guard Marcus Sasser, who has now roomed with Elvin for two years, has experienced teammates flooding his room countless times. 

“Everybody wants it,” Sasser said. “When he puts it in the group chat, it’s first come, first served cause it’s real good.”

Of course, being roommates with the chef comes with its advantages as Sasser typically gets first dibs on whatever is on the menu that day. Elvin’s spaghetti is one of Sasser’s favorites.

While the typical college student’s definition of cooking is somewhere along the lines of heating up water to make ramen or microwaving some prepackaged meal, Elvin cooks from an expansive menu. His teammates say Elvin rarely cooks the same thing over and over again but rather is always trying out new recipes and taking his time with it.

While the process is arduous, the end product is music to the mouth.

“Ten for ten,” Shead said when asked to rate Elvin’s cooking. “Ryo can make anything you can think of.”

Junior forward J’Wan Roberts has been a loyal diner at the Elvin kitchen ever since his first bite of the 6-foot-1-inch walk-on guard’s food nearly two years ago.

“(Elvin) surprised me one time too,” Roberts said. “He was just like ‘If anybody is hungry just come to the room. I’m cooking tonight.’ I (went and) got something to eat and I’ve been back ever since.” 

When teriyaki chicken and rice is on the menu, Roberts is sure to be there as he is the No. 1 fan of whatever Elvin’s secret sauce is in the dish.

“I don’t know what type of sauce it is but that (stuff) is serious,” Roberts said.

Elvin credits his father Scott, who passed away in October of 2021, for his cooking skills. Continuing to use his talents in the kitchen to keep himself and his teammates well-fed is one of Elvin’s ways of carrying on his father’s legacy.

“( I) really (learned to cook from) my dad,” Elvin said. “He’s a big cook. He just taught me how to make a lot of stuff and (how) you can save it for the week.”

Whenever he’s got some time off from basketball and back at home, Elvin will cook up a few dishes for his family to enjoy whether it’s doing a crawfish boil to cooking steaks to anything in between.

As long as Elvin is around, neither anyone in the UH program nor his family will go hungry. And Elvin knows that makes his dad proud looking down from above.

“If I have leftovers and stuff, the guys know where to come,” Elvin said.

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