June 4, 2014
HOUSTON - Lee Junior College forward Bertrand Nkali became the newest member of the University of Houston Men's Basketball program when he signed a financial aid agreement, head coach Kelvin Sampson announced Wednesday afternoon.
Nkali, who measures 6-foot-9 and weighs 220 pounds, will compete as a junior for the Cougars during the 2014-15 season and have two years of eligibility remaining.
He rejoins Lee Junior College teammate and junior guard Chuck Baker on the Cougars. The two competed for Lee Head Coach Roy Champagne during the 2013-14 season, leading the Rebels to a 20-12 overall record and 12-7 mark in league play.
As a sophomore in 2013-14, Nkali competed in 32 games for the Rebels, including 16 starts. He averaged 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while connecting on more than 50 percent of his shots from the field.
Nkali, who is a native of Cameroon, Africa, grabbed at least five rebounds in 13 games, including a career high seven boards against Trinity Valley Community College.
"Bertrand gives us size, athleticism and the ability to block shots. The thing that jumped out when I first watched him play was how hard he played, his toughness and his selflessness," Sampson said. "He is going to be a good addition and an important addition to our team."
Nkali, whose last name is pronounced KAH-lee, played as a freshman at Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.. There, he competed in 28 games with 19 starts and averaged 5.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while draining nearly 60 percent of his attempts from the field.
He posted three double-doubles, including a 20-point, 13-rebound performance in a win against Baltimore City Community College. Nkali also grabbed at least 10 rebounds in six games with a season-best 14 boards in a win against Moberly Area Community College.
Before competing at Lee College, Nkali was a power forward at Arlington Country Day High School in Jacksonville, Fla.
He became the eighth newcomer to join the Cougars for the 2014-15 season. That list includes sophomore forward Egi Gjikondi (San Jacinto JC), junior guards Chuck Baker (Lee JC), Eric Weary, Jr. (Howard JC) and Torian Graham (Chipola JC), freshman forward J.C. Washington (Yates High) and junior forward Devonta Pollard (East Mississippi CC). Former Purdue guard Ronnie Johnson will sit out the 2014-15 season as a transfer and play as a junior in 2015-16 with two years of eligibility remaining.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
In 2014-15, the American Athletic Conference will welcome Tulane, Tulsa and East Carolina for an 11-member league. In a new scheduling format, schools will face eight opponents twice in home-and-away series and two opponents once each for an 18-game league schedule.
This season, the Cougars will face Cincinnati, East Carolina, Memphis, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa , UCF and USF both inside Hofheinz Pavilion and on the road. Houston will play host to defending national champion UConn inside Hofheinz Pavilion and will meet Temple on the road during the 2014-15 campaign.
Houston Athletics will release the Men's Basketball team's 2014-15 schedule with dates, times and non-conference opponents in the near future. Fans should stay tuned to UHCougars.com and Houston Athletics' social media sites for the latest news and notes about the schedule and team.
SEASON TICKET DEPOSITS
Fans can take the first step toward the 2014-15 Houston Men's Basketball season by placing deposits with the Athletics Ticket Office at UHCougars.com or by clicking here. The deposit is not a fee and will go towards the cost of season tickets.