Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #24 Houston Cougars

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We continue the Preseason College Basketball Rankings series with the Houston Cougars. Kelvin Sampson has Houston as good as they’ve been in almost 40 years. Over the past four seasons, Sampson’s squad has gone 111-24 and made it to the Final Four last season. Houston hasn’t been this good for this long since Guy Lewis was the head coach. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, he retired in 1986. I am not as big of a fan of the Cougars coming into this season as others are, but I still like them a lot.

Preseason College Basketball Rankings: Houston Cougars

Houston lost arguably their two best players from their Final Four squad. Quentin Grimes declared for the NBA Draft and was selected 25th by the New York Knicks and Dejon Jarreau went undrafted and played with the Miami Heat in the Summer League before signing a two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers and their G-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. They also lost forward Justin Gorham. Gorham was great last year, averaging 8.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season. It is going to be hard to replace the kind of production that those three gave them, which is why I’m not as high on the Cougars as others. But there is still a good amount of talent on this roster.

The notable additions are two of the transfers, Kyler Edwards from Texas Tech and Taze Moore from Cal State Bakersfield. Moore is an excellent defender and he improved in each of his four years as a Roadrunner. He was an All-Big West first-team selection. Edwards’ name might sound familiar to you as he was a key member of Texas Tech’s teams the past few seasons, including the team that made it to the national championship game. He brings plenty of scoring pop to a team that lost a lot of that in Grimes.

The team will be lead by Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark, who both return after having great seasons last year. Sasser specifically made a huge improvement with his two-point shooting percentage last year. The two guards will run the perimeter and score a lot for this team. But in order to do what they want to do they’re going to need to get more out of their forwards, graduate Fabian White Jr. and senior Reggie Chaney. Getting production out of the 6’11” transfer center from UConn Josh Carlton would help a lot too.

Houston will try to stay at the top of the American Athletic Conference once again. But, Emoni Bates committing to Memphis makes that task significantly harder for the Cougars. They can definitely win it for the fourth straight year, but it will be more difficult.

Projected Lineup

PG – Marcus Sasser (13.7PPG/2.6RPG/2.2APG/1.4SPG)

SG – Tramon Mark (7.8PPG/3.0RPG/1.7APG/0.9SPG)

G – Kyler Edwards (10.1PPG/4.8RPG/2.8APG/1.1SPG at Texas Tech)

F – Fabian White Jr. (6.2PPG/4.1RPG)

F – Reggie Chaney (4.7PPG/2.8RPG)

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