Coach Sampson


This is Coach Sampson’s 4th year as HC and, in my opinion, the health and vitality of UH basketball continues to improve and prosper. As of last night’s victory over USF, Coach Sampson’s overall W/L record stands 20 Ws over .500. His successful recruitment of high quality players is impressive and reaching into talent rich North Carolina shows that he has national recruiting ambitions. He has a quality assistant coaching staff and a new arena to be opened at the start of the 2018-2019 season.

Listening to television broadcasters, I hear a familiar theme…that his teams exercise discipline and patience on offense while playing excellent defense. Last night, it was mentioned that Coach Sampson’s goal was to create a team that is difficult to guard. Think about that for a moment…he wants to develop a team that is difficult to guard. That is a significant goal because Guy Lewis developed teams that were difficult to guard. Teams that are difficult to guard become championship teams.

To make matters better, I believe (and I could be wrong) that there is a potential succession of leadership in the works when the day comes that Coach Sampson retires. I expect that his son will take over the control of the program, providing continuity and a seamless transition from Coach Kelvin Sampson to Coach Kellen Sampson, thus leading UH basketball into a bright future for years to come.

The successful transition of UH basketball leadership has been a plague in the past. The baton was passed from Coach Lewis to Coach Foster, but he wasn’t able to shake the shadow of Coach Lewis’ success and he wasn’t able to please the UH alumni and fans, so he left the program. Once gone, UH basketball fell into an unfortunate abyss of mediocrity for over 20 years.

As for the present and immediate future, the UH program is close to returning to the Foster years.

We won’t reach the Guy Lewis years until we actually win a first round game in the NCAA Tournament, which may be closer than some realize. Once that happens, UH basketball program will once again become a regular fixture and force in the NCAA championship tournament for years to come.


Excellent post!

(Mark Ross) #3

The fact that this team can play well whether Rob Gray is having a good game or not is a big indicator. This team from a distance seems to be so much better with so much potential compared to last year. They have big games coming up starting with Saturday against a Temple team that some believe is an NCAA tournament team.

(PMM) #4

It will be interesting reading this board when we lose the next time😁!

(Charles) #5

Don’t rush the retirement thing. I can’t think of a successful father/son succession in college basketball. Can anyone?

(Patrick) #6

No worries, CKS said last year that he’d like to coach another decade


Continuity is a dirty word in these parts.

(jimmyschofield) #8

I really don’t like nepotism. I mean Kellen can be part of the interview process. If Pezman feels he’s the man then I’m fine. But hopefully this is way down the line.


Keep in mind…this is not the football side. Civility and sense are found here. :grin:

(Eric Prado) #10

Just last year everyone wanted him gone.

(srassen7) #11

I would disagree that everyone did, but a vocal minority existed and that alone was shocking because our last 2 seasons were essentially the best 2 since 2000 (acknowledging that the 2009-10 team did get hot in March and went from being a bad regular season team to an NCAA team by winning the CUSA Tourney).

CKS (along with Burrell and Dismuke) should be on incredibly cool seats.

(Eric Prado) #12

I disagree with passing the reigns over to Kellen (so easily) simply because the fans WILL think it SHOULD be a seamless transition.

Kelvin and Kellen I’m sure carry two distinct personalities. That alone is enough for me to know they coach differently, recruit differently, and athletes respond differently to their styles. People will expect little to no drop off. It wouldn’t be a “year zero rebuild” type of change, but you have to expect everyone involved will feel a void with Kelvin gone. Yes, I think Kellen has benefited by learning from his father, I’m just saying, its not fair to expect him to pick up exactly where his father left the program.

If you’re having a hard time understanding what I’m saying I suggest you watch Jiro: Dreams of Sushi. Its a great film on Netflix that does a better job of explaining what I’m trying to say.

(David) #13

I choose to enjoy Sampson as the current coach - I will let others worry about succession. This is a fun team to watch.

(PMM) #14

I’m with you.

(Steve O'Keefe) #15

So what suddenly changed in recruiting?

We added eight guys, including bigs that we’ve needed for years!

(jimmyschofield) #16

Takes awhile to build up relationships I think. We’re seeing this with football. With coaching staffs in turmoil the recruiting suffers.

(srassen7) #17

What @CougarJim1974 said is a good, succinct answer to the question.

CKS had a really tough situation when he first got here. Dickey had recruited pretty well, but a lot of those came from shady characters like Ulric Maligi. Also you saw how un-invested those guys were in playing for UH when they transferred out ASAP when CKS arrived. He inherited not many Division 1 players and deficiencies at key positions. I remember hearing his comments pre-season in 2014 and knowing what a rough year we had coming.

I think smartly he went heavy after JuCOs and D1 transfers early on in his tenure. That CKS got this team even NIT caliber by year 2 is freaking miraculous. Some of those JC guys didn’t pan out, but others like Damyean Dotson, Rob Gray, Devonta Pollard and Devin Davis have proven to be good players. It was also an acknowledgement that CKS still had to built meaningful relationships with HS coaches in Houston and Texas.

We’ve started to see TX HS guys like Galen and Armoni become contributors and we’ve actually signed some high school guys in the past 2 recruiting cycles (Nate Hinton, Fabian White, Ced Alley, Mike Adewunmni, Antoine Davis). I can’t speak to his future head coaching chops, but Kellen Sampson was the closer on Nate Hinton (easily our highest rated commit in ages) so he at least has the recruiting chops. Also hiring Quannas White was a huge under the radar get as he’s extremely connected in NOLA and he already helped land 2 former 4 star transfers from UMass: DeJon Jarreau and Brison Gresham.

(Dan) #18

Good original post and thread. I’ve had thoughts of the Kellen succession since CKS started but thought it was better to wait on discussing it until we were a bit more successful. We need ncaa tournament bids to take the next step, and the odds are in our favor this year.

This example blew up like the Hindenburg but Richard Pitino was on a similar path to take over Louisville, but he got his own head coaching gigs after becoming an assistant at Louisville. I still thought he would leave Minnesota for Louisville if Rick retired in a good way. Now we’ll never know. Richard was lucky to get out of Dodge when he did.

I bring up this example to ask would it make folks feel better about Kellen if he went and coached a Lamar or something similar before here? I’d assume it would have to be local because the Sampsons aren’t gonna let that grandkid move across the country.

(Dan) #19

“Keep in mind…this is not the football side. Civility and sense are found here.”

I for one was ready for baseball season after the Drexel loss. Glad the team proved me wrong.

(Mike Higdon) #20

I really don’t remember people wanting him gone. I do remember people saying that he needed to get us to the dance this year and that inflated numbers against weak teams didn’t get the job done and neither did one and done NIT appearances.