The data is clear. UH had let this once proud program slide into a dark hole. Penders came along and working under some of the worse conditions in NCAA basketball, pulled the program from oblivion back to the brink of respectability. In spite of Penders’ foundation building, UH fell two steps back under Dickey.
It’s pretty clear that Sampson is the man of the hour. Under his direction the program has once again risen from the depths of oblivion. More than that, Coach Sampson has once again brought national relevance to the program. UH was prominently mentioned as a bubble team leading up to selection day. UH was selected by the NIT as a number 2 seed.
For the persuasively negative among us remember the Texas programs not selected for any post-season tournament, including UT, A&M, and Tech.
Once again, UH’s glass is half full. Yes, there will still be detractors. You just have to wonder which team they are watching.
I think a lot of people are 95% football fans and they’ll tune in for the odd basketball game or follow baseball/softball if they make the postseason. They tuned in and saw a less than stellar performance in Hartford and took the knee jerk reaction that this program was mediocre or stalling.
However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This team has flaws (big man play chief among them) but considering this was a roster CKS essentially had to build from scratch. He inherited 3-4 division players and maaaaaaybe 1 starting caliber player to a program with the worst facilities and fan support in the AAC. Other than USF currently (which admittedly is even worse) there’s been no more serious AAC rebuild than what CKS faced in 2014. Even considering the NCAA baggage he had, I was shocked we were able to get CKS to take on this project.
So what does he do? In only year 2-3 he has this team among the top 60-65 RPI teams and 3rd in a conference that’s the best we’ve been in since the old CUSA w/ Marquette, Louisville et al. He does all this with the same ancient facilities (with the same mostly crummy fan support), though we finally get the development center and JUST NOW can CKS start selling a brand new arena.
There are things like big man play and the non-conference schedule that should improve. But CKS should be on a very cool seat.
Great info. Seems clear that the pecking order has been:
Sampson – keeps progressing after player exodus (House/Thomas)
Penders – was regressing
Dickey – progressed each year but not enough
McCallum – too bad Ray Jr. wasn’t old enough to play. We’d have been in the 100s.
It doesn’t matter how good of a coach Sampson is if he can’t get sufficient talent at UH. Coaching can just get you so far if you don’t have the talent or depth.
Aw Progs, just when I think you are coming around. Look at it this way. You state the obvious, but it comes off like a blaming statement.
Now, I assume you mean well, so let’s take another look at this. In order to be successful recruiting you need a coach who is a proven winner. Check. Simpson’s record is beyond reproach.
Next you need at least decent facilities. X, because when Sampson arrived UH had some of the worst facilities in America. I’ll give Dickey some serious credit here. He and his assistants managed to bring in some serious talent in spite of facilities. We probably don’t want to look too hard into how he did that. But Sampson has brought in some decent talent as well. UH finished second or third in a very tough conference two years in a row. And Sampson did this with incredible coaching acumen because these guys were playing way over their heads. As witnessed by our record come tournament time.
Finally, a team needs fan support. This is a big X because even though attendance has been on the rise it still has a way to go. To be clear, when (not if) UH is back on the national radar, ranked and all that, the fans will return. But UH fans, like most fan bases, won’t tolerate even average teams.
Keep in mind where UH was when Sampson arrived. Absolute crap facilities. Ridiculously bad fan support. And an embarrassing record with a few bright spots, but not many. Coaches were not lining up for this job. UH was irrelevant nationally. Conference teams circled UH on the calendar because there was a win for the taking. And here we had an established winning coach straight from the NBA who actually wanted the job. Too good to be true, wouldn’t you say?
So carp on this guy if you will but in the world of college and pro basketball the people who know hold him in high esteem. They watch UH and (because they really do understand basketball at all levels) stand in awe of what Sampson has built literally from the ground up at UH. Remember he started from scratch when he arrived. The talent on this team (probably with AAU coaches whispering in their ears) bailed leaving Sampson scrambling to find enough players to even field a team. They marvel at UH’s good fortune to have a coach of Sampson’s stature. They hold this man in the highest esteem. You, not so much.
I’m happy what he’s done at UH. I just think you have to judge him as a whole. Like he hasn’t won an NIT game in his 3 years here. For me, he got out coached last year against a lowly Tulane. Elvin Hayes was upset how the team played then.
I know Mike, as a true die hard fan you are, you will always defend UH coaches no matter what. But how much longer are you going to keep making excuses for CKS ?! I just feel for you being in the minority.
Ha! Maaybe so, but I think I’ve been pretty rational in my opinions. I don’t need to make excuses for a coach whose team finished 2nd or 3rd in the AAC the past two years. And he did it with half the talent of many of the teams that finished below him.
I lived through almost every day of the Guy Lewis tenure. There were many high points but there were some real low points as well. By your logic Lewis would have been gone by 1980. Trust me on that. The fans were gathering with pitchforks. And if you are listening to the radio it suggests you are not at the games. I know. I know. Everyone who posts here swears they were at every game. I can’t make all of them myself.
Let’s see…Devin Davis was a 4 star. Dotson was a 4 star. Pollard last year was a 5 star. Chicken was a top 50 player. Rob Gray was highly regarded out of the Juco ranks. CKS has had talent at UH. So your points aren’t really that valid. But OK…keep trying to convince yourself of that.
HOne last reply and we need to move on. UH’s weakness wasn’t at the positions held by the players you mention. It was in the post where just about every team we played beat us up. That giant slug playing for Akron was just the latest. He used his sheer size to push us around in the paint and to score at will. And, wouldn’t you know it, he’s a 50% foul shooter. Suddenly he couldn’t miss. That wasn’t the only factor in this loss but it was a consistent one. When you have someone pushing you around in the paint it affects your whole game plan. And it did.
Now we could do this ad nauseum but I think we’ve covered all the major points. You want to believe Sampson is somehow below your expectations be my guest. I’ll keep buying tickets and you can… well, do whatever you do. Sometimes this becomes like arguing religion. It just doesn’t go anywhere.