I thought I’d throw a few of them together. Feels good to see us mentioned so early in a number of different polls. The key takeaway for me is that we should start the season already in the conversation. No fighting our way up to just get votes. Now…as long as we don’t “Husky It” (jab at Washington)…we should live in the upper part of the polls throughout the season.
If you run into any I’ve not included, add them in. Fun to see what others think about our rising program.
247Sports Composite recruiting class ranking: 25
Houston finished in a three-way tie for the AAC regular season championship with a defense that improved over the course of the season. And Kelvin Sampson’s bunch did that with a young roster; Chris Harris was the lone rotational player who was a senior. Houston could lose a player or two to testing the waters or eventually going pro, but whatever they return — along with that No. 25 recruiting class — should be ready to win 25 or so games.
Sophomore guards Caleb Mills and Quentin Grimes are both returning after leading the team in scoring. Houston finished first in the American Athletic Conference and is only losing one senior. The Cougars run a fast-paced offense and are a fun team to watch in transition.
16. [Houston Cougars]
Houston never quite looked as good as the metrics pegged the Cougars, but Kelvin Sampson’s team should be more consistent next season. There’s a chance all but one starter return, although [DeJon Jarreau] and [Quentin Grimes] could have NBA draft decisions to make. If both return – along with starter [Nate Hinton] and sixth man extraordinaire [Caleb Mills] (13.2 PPG) – Sampson will have the most talented quartet in the AAC by some distance. The Cougars also bring in ESPN 100 prospect [Tramon Mark] and Idaho transfer [Cameron Tyson] (13.5 PPG, 42.9% 3PT) to help on the perimeter. They will have to figure out the frontcourt, as there isn’t much proven behind [Fabian White]. It’s hard to doubt Sampson at this point, though, as the Cougars have won 83 games the past three seasons and had a top-21 defense all three campaigns.
10. Houston (23-8)
Kelvin Sampson’s teams have ended the season ranked in the top 20 of KenPom for three consecutive years. Next year’s Cougars could be his most experienced group yet. Nate Hinton, Quentin Grimes, Marcus Sasser, and Caleb Mills lead a stacked roster of veterans.
Kelvin Sampson’s Houston teams have been nothing if not consistent, and should get pretty much everyone back, assuming DeJon Jarreau and Quentin Grimes return. Sixth man and scoring specialist Caleb Mills will look to follow up a strong freshman year, and Nate Hinton and Marcus Sasser round out a solid perimeter rotation. The Cougars again look like favorites in the AAC, and shouldn’t be slept on. Mills, in particular, was one of this season’s better-kept secrets nationally.
- GONE : Chris Harris
- COMING BACK : Quentin Grimes, Caleb Mills, Marcus Sasser, Fabian White, Justin Forham, Brison Gresham, Cedrick Alley
- WAIT AND SEE : DeJon Jarreau, Nate Hinton
- NEW FACES : Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead, Kiyron Powell
PROJECTED STARTERS : Marcus Sasser, Caleb Mills, Quentin Grimes, Nate Hinton, Fabian White
We all know that Kelvin Sampson can coach, and he will be bringing back a roster where his top six scorers were all underclassmen from a team that finished top 15 on KenPom. They are going to be loaded in the backcourt — Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes might end up being their third or fourth best guard — and there will be some veterans in their frontcourt. The Cougars look to be the favorite in the American.
16. [Houston Cougars]
Houston will be aided by the likely return of their top six scorers from a season ago, with maybe guard DeJon Jarreau sitting as one of the only question marks in that group. They’ll throw Idaho transfer Cameron Tyson and a solid recruiting group into the mix and the wheels like keep turning for Kelvin Sampson and the Cougars. A third straight NCAA Tournament is in sight.
21. Houston – We all know Kelvin Sampson can coach, and the Cougars should be the favorites in the AAC next season since none of his top six scorers are seniors. Caleb Mills led the team in scoring this season as a freshman, and fellow frosh Marcus Sasser should also take a jump.
23. Houston Cougars
Houston found itself in the Top 25 for most of the second half of the 2019-20 season and they return their top six scorers from a successful 23-8 season. The Cougars won the American Athletic title and figure to be even better with another year of experience under their belts. This looks like a team that could run away with the American next year.
Projected lineup : Marcus Sasser, DeJon Jarreau, Quentin Grimes, Nate Hinton, Fabian White
Kelvin Sampson has done a masterful job at Houston and ’20-21 shouldn’t be any different. The Cougars don’t have any projected draft losses and none of Houston’s top six players (based on minutes played) were seniors. Idaho sit-out transfer Cameron Tyson (31 starts, 13.5 ppg in ’18-19) is a major bucket-getter, knocking down 3.3 triples a game as a freshman while shooting 42.9 percent from deep and 87.5 percent at the line. In what expects be a down year in the American, Houston could roll through this conference.