HOUSTON - Centers Chris Harris and Kyle Meyer and guards Damyean Dotson and Rob Gray became the newest members of the University of Houston Men's Basketball program with their signings on Wednesday morning, head coach Kelvin Sampson announced.
With the group's signing, the Cougars will welcome six newcomers to the program for the 2015-16 season. Westbury Christian guard and 2015 Guy V. Lewis Award recipient Galen Robinson, Jr., and Paris Junior College forward Xavier Dupree signed with the Cougars during the fall signing period.
"These are great young men who will represent this University, our Athletics program and our Basketball team with great character and with great pride. I am not sure I can convey the excitement I have for these six kids and what they bring to our basketball program," Sampson said. "We have a little bit of everything. This is an outstanding group to move us forward."
"We are moving into a new Basketball Development Center in the fall. We have an outstanding recruiting class coupled with an outstanding group coming back, and that's why we are so excited. This is a team that is going to compete in the American Athletic Conference and compete for NCAA Tournament berths in the future."
Meyer joins the Cougars after competing as a sophomore in 2014-15 at Eastern Florida State College f. Playing for head coach Jeremy Shulman, Meyer averaged 15.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game to lead the Titans to a 29-5 record and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament.
The Alpharetta, Ga., native enjoyed 30 games with double-digit points with six 20-point efforts and a career-high 31 points against Broward College.
With those numbers, he was named the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference Player of the Year and was recognized as NJCAA All-America Honorable Mention.
Meyer, who measures 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds, spent his first two collegiate seasons at Iowa, where he played in 12 games as a redshirt freshman during the 2013-14 season.
As a prep star at Northview High, he averaged 18.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game as a senior while shooting 59.6 percent from the field. He also competed in both the Score 44 and Georgia Athletic Coaches Association All-Star games following his high school career.
"Kyle is a versatile big man. He can go out on the perimeter and make threes. He can play in the post and score, and he is an outstanding passer and a tough kid," Sampson said. "Kyle will make an immediate impact for us at the No. 5 spot because of his size and skill level."
Competing for head coach Craig Maura, Harris checks in at 6-foot-10 and 200 pounds and joins Robinson as the team's freshmen in 2015-16. As a senior, he poured in a game-high 26 points to lead Madison High to an 83-70 win over four-time state champion Yates High and end the Lions' 114-game district win streak.
In non-conference play, he swatted 31 blocks in four games to set a tournament record at the Coventry Health Tournament of Champions in Peoria, Ill.
Following the season, he was named to the TABC Class 5A All-State Team after averaging 14.6 points per contest. Harris also was named to the District 20-5A First Team for the second consecutive season and was recognized as the league's top defensive player.
"I am excited about Chris Harris. He keeps getting better and better and better. From July to March, it's been amazing how far he has come," Sampson said. "He has so much potential and gives us a young, big player that we can develop."
Dotson joins the Cougars after sitting out the 2014-15 season as a student at Houston Community College following two years at Oregon. Sampson said Dotson used his time away from competition to focus on academics and his personal development.
"After speaking with Damyean, his family and former coaches, I feel confident in Damyean's abilities to be an outstanding person on the University of Houston campus and a great representative of our program. He has learned from previous experiences in his life and has shown himself to be worthy of a second chance. I am certain that he will make the most of this opportunity," Sampson said.
Former NBA star and coach John Lucas, who leads the John Lucas Athletes After-Care Program, began working with Dotson in July 2014 and has remained close to him and his family since that time.
"When Damyean and his family reached out to me, I wanted to see if he was willing to do the work and make the commitment. Our recommendation was for him to work in our program, go to a junior college and graduate, and he has fulfilled that," Lucas said. "He is top of the line and a good kid I have known forever. I really believe Damyean deserves a second chance."
Dotson competed as a freshman and sophomore at Oregon from 2012 to 2014, competing in 70 games with 69 starts. As a freshman, he averaged 11.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game to help lead the Ducks to the Sweet Sixteen. One year later, he started all 33 games while ranking as the team's fourth-leading scorer with 9.4 points per game.
He will compete as a redshirt junior with the Cougars in 2015-16 and have two years of eligibility remaining.
Before competing in collegiate, Dotson also was an award-winning student-athlete at nearby Yates High. As a senior, he averaged 21.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while being named the 2012 Greater Houston Player of the Year by the Houston Chronicle.
Gray will compete as a sophomore with the Cougars in 2015-16 after competing at Howard Junior College during this past season. The Forest City, N.C., native measures 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds.
Under head coach Scott Raines in 2014-15, Gray started all 27 games and averaged 18.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He recorded 23 games with double-digit points and had 20+ points in 14 games, including 10 of the last 12 to end the season.
He enjoyed his first double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds in a 59-50 win at Western Texas College and followed that with a 17-point, 10-rebound performance in a win over Clarendon College. In his next-to-last game of the season, Gray tallied a season-high 27 points with 10 rebounds in a win against Hill College.
For his impressive efforts, he was named to the Western Junior College Athletic Association All-Conference First Team and was an All-Region V Team member.
"Rob's greatest strength is his versatility. He can play either guard spot. We knew we needed to add another shooter and a guard with versatility, and that's what we get with Rob."