Men’s Basketball Preparing to Study in China

Aug. 10, 2015

HOUSTON – When the University of Houston Men’s Basketball program travels to China next week for a 10-day trip, student-athletes will have more than hoops and a foreign culture on their minds. They will be preparing for class during the upcoming fall semester.

After playing four games in four days starting Aug. 14 and touring Yellow Mountain and Xi Di Hong village, the Cougars will return to Houston and prepare for their Culture, Sports and China (Sociology 3398) class during the fall semester. The 3-hour course will be taught by Dr. Shayne Lee, who laid out the course expectations during a team meeting Friday morning inside the Athletics/Alumni Center.

The course was created to help students examine sports within the Chinese culture and to assess the cultural components of their own lives as NCAA Division I student-athletes.

Team members will keep a journal and reflect on their experiences in China and continue writing in their journals when they return home on their experiences as a UH student-athlete throughout the fall semester. They also will make a presentation of their experiences on their trip to China with photos, videos, news clips and other media.

The Cougars will read Beijing’s Games: What the Olympics Mean to China by Susan Brownell and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. From there, student-athletes will write a 4-page paper on their observations about China and Chinese athletes, using Brownell’s book as a reference. They also will use Outliers to write a 5-page reflection paper on their own experiences and development as athletes.

Teams are allowed to take part in foreign tours during the summer once every four years, per NCAA rules. Under the leadership of Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, Houston will hold 10 team workouts inside Hofheinz Pavilion before leaving for China.

The Cougars leave at 1 a.m. (CDT), Tuesday, out of Bush Intercontinental Airport for their 14-hour flight to Beijing. After a brief layover, the team will take a short 2-hour flight to Hefei.

From there, the team will use their first two days in China to adjust to the 13-hour time difference, meet with Chinese media and practice before competing in their first game on Aug. 14 in Hefei. The Cougars will face Shuangxin Double Stars in four games over four straight days in four different cities.

Following the opening game in Hefei, the Cougars will continue to face Shuangxin in Wangjiang (Aug. 15), Taihu (Aug. 16) and Tongling (Aug. 17).

In addition to the competition, the Cougars will enjoy several cultural sites on their trip. Following the competition schedule on Aug. 18, the team will visit Yellow Mountain, an area renamed after the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) in 747 AD. Several Buddhist temples have been built there, and it has become a tourist attraction with its beautiful scenery.

The team also will visit Xi Di Hong, a village built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Built in the shape of an ox, the village enjoys more than 900 years of history.

Both Yellow Mountain and Xi Di Hong have been registered as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The Cougars return to Houston on the evening of Aug. 20 with the first day of classes set for Aug. 24.

Tuesday, Aug. 11 Depart Houston
Wednesday, Aug. 12 Team activities & practice
Thursday, Aug. 13 Press conference with Chinese media, team activities & practice
Friday, Aug. 14 Game 1 vs. Shuangxin Double Stars in Hefei
7:30 p.m. (China Standard Time)
Saturday, Aug. 15 Game 2 vs. Shuangxin Double Stars in Wangjiang
7:30 p.m. (China Standard Time)
Sunday, Aug. 16 Game 3 vs. Shuangxin Double Stars in Taihu
7:30 p.m. (China Standard Time)
Monday, Aug. 17 Game 4 vs. Shuangxin Double Stars in Tongling
7:30 p.m. (China Standard Time)
Tuesday, Aug. 18 Tour of Yellow Mountain & team activities
Wednesday, Aug. 19 Tour of Xi Di Hong Village & team activities
Thursday, Aug. 20 Return to Houston
Schedule is subject to change
Please note that China Standard Time is 13 hours ahead of Central Daylight Time. When it is noon, Thursday, in Houston, it is 1 a.m., Friday in Anhui Province, China.
Season-ticket deposits for the 2015-16 University of Houston Men's Basketball season are now being taken, and fans are encouraged to place their deposits soon.

Fans can put season-ticket deposits down NOW for only $50 per seat. To place a season-ticket deposit, fans can visit UHCougars.com/tickets and follow the appropriate links or click here.

Reserved 1 season tickets will soon be available for $250 per seat for all 18 regular-season home games, while Reserved 2 season tickets will sell for $150 per seat. As an added benefit this season, fans who purchase Reserved 1 Men's Basketball season tickets will receive the same number of Houston Women's Basketball season tickets FREE.

For the first time in 2015-16, fans also can purchase $99 Anytime season tickets. With Anytime season tickets, With Anytime season tickets, fans will receive one ticket for each of the 18 regular-season home games.

From there, fans can use their Anytime season tickets any way they like. They can use one ticket for each home game or take 17 friends to one home game or any combination in between.

As always, current University of Houston students are admitted free with valid IDs to Houston Men's Basketball games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans can view a Hofheinz Pavilion map with season-ticket pricing by clicking here.

Houston fans can connect with Fan Experience Headquarters by phone or text, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 713-462-6647 and can purchase tickets online 24/7 at UHCougars.com/tickets.

Any deposit amount paid will be credited toward season-ticket costs once they go on sale. New season-ticket members who make a deposit will be contacted by a Houston Athletics Ticket Sales staff member to choose their seats.

Fans should also stay tuned to UHCougars.com and Houston Men's Basketball social media sites for the latest information about ticket sales.

The Cougars return six lettermen and four starters from last year’s team, which recorded 13 wins and knocked off defending national champion UConn inside Hofheinz Pavilion for the second consecutive year.

Battling injuries throughout the season, the Cougars enjoyed a late-season surge, winning four of their final five games, including the lone upset in the American Athletic Conference Championship First Round in Hartford, Conn.

Senior guard LeRon Barnes, the Cougars’ lone 3-year letterwinners, returns after ranking among The American’s top-10 leaders in both offensive and defensive rebounding, while senior forward Devonta Pollard enters the 2015-16 campaign as the Cougars’ top returning scorer with 11.4 points per game.

Junior forward Danrad Knowles ranked third on the team in both scoring and rebounding, and senior guard L.J Rose looks for his third 100+ assist season while wearing the Scarlet and White.

Houston also welcomes the return of junior guard Ronnie Johnson and junior forward Bertrand Nkali to competition. Both players practiced with the Cougars but sat out the 2014-15 season after Johnson transferred from Purdue and Nkali missed the year with an injury.

The Cougars will be boosted by the addition of five newcomers to the team, including freshman guard Galen Robinson (Westbury Christian/Houston); sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr. (Howard JC/Forest City, N.C.); junior guard Damyean Dotson (Oregon/Houston); junior forward Xavier Dupree (Paris JC/Houston) and junior center Kyle Meyer (Eastern Florida State College/Atlanta).

This will be the fourth team that Sampson has led on an international trip. He previously enjoyed visits to the Soviet Union, Costa Rica and the Bahamas with Washington State (1991), Oklahoma (2003) and Indiana (2007), respectively.

In addition, he led the 2004 Under-21 USA National Team to a gold medal at the Under-21 Tournament of the Americas in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and served as head coach of the U.S. Junior National Team that competed at the 1995 Junior World Games in Athens, Greece.

He was an assistant coach for the U.S. Team at the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia and also worked with "Operation Hardwood - Hoops with the Troops" in Kuwait in August 2005. Most recently, Sampson served as an assistant coach with the Canadian National Team in 2012.

Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Men's Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook page by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops.



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