Men's Basketball Sports

Marcus Sasser adds another chapter to his UH legacy on senior night

Marcus Sasser embraces his head coach, Kelvin Sampson, after walking off the Fertitta Center floor for the final time on Thursday night. | Anh Le/ The Cougar

Marcus Sasser embraces his head coach, Kelvin Sampson, after walking off the Fertitta Center floor for the final time on Thursday night. | Anh Le/ The Cougar

Marcus Sasser stepped off the Fertitta Center floor, a court on which he had played 1,460 minutes over the course of four years and for the final time on Thursday night.

As he walked to the bench, a standing ovation from a record Fertitta Center crowd of 7,879 and hugs from his teammates and coaches greeted the senior guard, who tied Robert McKiver’s program record for career 3-pointers made with 261 and Fabian White Jr. as the winningest player in Fertitta Center history (49-4) in No. 1 UH’s win over Wichita State.

Just nine months ago, it was unclear if Sasser would even have a senior night as the UH guard heavily considered leaving school early and keeping his name in the 2022 NBA Draft.

He took his time weighing his options, waiting until the night of June 1 to withdraw his name from the draft.

“Marcus didn’t have to come back,” said UH head coach Kelvin Sampson. “He and I had some heart-to-heart talks, but not one time did he ever ask me what he should do. I was never going to tell him what to do unless he asked.”

While the opportunity to begin his professional basketball career at 21 was tempting, Sasser came back for his senior season at UH to experience moments like Thursday, a night full of joy, laughter with his teammates and cutting nets, one more time.

“You don’t get these moments in the NBA,” Sasser said. “I came back to have fun, experience the (NCAA) tournament (one more time) and really just to enjoy this time with my teammates.”

Sasser’s special night

With his family beside him, Sasser made his way to the UH logo at halfcourt forty minutes before tipoff for the senior night ceremony.

Greeted by a teary-eyed Sampson, the emotions started to hit Sasser.

“I was a little emotional because I knew it was my last time stepping on this floor with this team,” Sasser said.

Once the ball was tipped, Sasser switched into game mode, fully locked in.

After not making a field goal in the first half, Sasser found his rhythm from behind the arc to begin the second half.

With 6:24 remaining, Sasser drilled his third 3-pointer of the night, the 261st of his career. It tied the program record set by McKiver 15 years ago.

Finishing with 22 points in No. 1 UH’s blowout of Wichita State, Sasser also tied White for the most wins in Fertitta Center history with 49.

“It’s a credit to his work,” said UH point guard Jamal Shead. “He’s the last one out, first one in every day. That dude lives in the gym.”

After the game, Sasser was presented with two commemorative balls to capture the milestones achieved.

“Hard work pays off,” Sasser. “That’s a blessing just to be in that position, in that category.”

Leaving his legacy

Coming to UH, the 6-foot-2-inch guard had one goal.

“I just want to be a winner at the end of the day,” Sasser said. 

After his final game in Fertitta Center, Sasser is confident he cemented the legacy he hoped to leave at UH.

“That was my goal to really leave my legacy as being a winning player,” Sasser said. “I feel like I did that.”

The only thing that would make it sweeter — lifting the national championship trophy 5.6 miles down the road at NRG Stadium on April 3.

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