HOUSTON – The University of Houston Men’s Basketball frontcourt added a new member with LIU Brookyn forward Nura Zanna signing a Statement of Financial Aid, Head Coach Kelvin Sampson announced Friday.
Measuring 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, Zanna is one of the biggest members of the Cougars’ signing class. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics from LIU-Brooklyn, Zann will be immediately eligible for the 2017-18 season and have one year of eligibility. He chose Houston over Clemson, Penn State and UMass.
He will be the second Nigerian on the Cougars’ 2017-18 roster, joining junior center Valentine Sangoyomi, who sat out a year ago as a redshirt.
“Nura is a tough hombre and fills a need for us. We only have him for one year, but he is really going to help us,” Sampson said. “When we sat down and talked with him and his family, all he talked about was going to the NCAA Tournament. Nura is a no-nonsense guy, a tough player and a high-character kid.”
Zanna, whose name is pronounced Noor-uh Zah-Nuh, competed in 32 games with 30 starts in 2016-17. He ranked fourth on his team with 9.2 points per game but stood second among the Blackbirds with 8.7 rebounds per contest.
He finished the season with 15 double-doubles and enjoyed a career night against Mount St. Mary’s with 21 points and 17 rebounds.
A native of Kaduna, Nigeria, Zanna started all but one of LIU’s 31 games as a sophomore in 2015-16 and ranked second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per contest. After sitting out the 2013-14 season as a redshirt, Zanna started all 30 games as a redshirt freshman in 2014-15, averaging 8.5 points and a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game.
He was named to the Northeast Conference All-Rookie Team following that season.
Before entering the collegiate ranks, Zanna played for three seasons at Coral Springs Christian High School in Fla. As a senior in 2012-13, he was named the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald Florida Small Schools Player of the Year after averaging 19.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Zanna also was named to the Class 3A All-State Team by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches. He scored a school-record 40 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against Orlando’s Dr. Phillips and helped lead the Crusaders to the state championship game for the first time in school history.
Zanna joins Klein Forest High School forward Cedrick Alley Jr.; Mansfield Lake Ridge High School guard Mike Adewunmi; Saddleback Junior College Breaon Brady; San Jacinto Junior College guard Corey Davis; Three Rivers Community College forward Gabe Grant and Atascocita High School forward Fabian White Jr., in the Cougars’ signing class.
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