Men’s Basketball Wraps Up First Days in China

Aug. 12, 2015

HEFEI, China – The University of Houston Men’s Basketball program wrapped up its first day of its trip to China following long travel plans on Wednesday night.

Flying out of Bush Intercontinental Airport at 1 a.m. (CST) Tuesday, the Cougars touched down at Beijing International Airport around 4:30 a.m. (China ST), Wednesday (3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Houston time).

After going through customs, Houston’s student-athletes walked around the airport to stretch their legs and look for drinks and snacks. And who did they run into… Houston legend Hakeem Olajuwon! The 12-time NBA All-Star and Cougars’ career blocked shots leader was traveling to Dubai.

Following a 4-hour layover, the Cougars boarded a 2-hour flight to Hefei, capping their total flight time at more than 16 hours.

Welcomed by fireworks and flowers from the Mingfa International Hotel staff upon their arrival, the Cougars enjoyed lunch at the hotel before Vice President for Athletics Hunter Yurachek, Head Coach Kelvin Sampson and freshman point guard Galen Robinson, Jr., attended a banquet with Chinese Basketball Association representatives.

Dining on first-class Anhui Province cuisine, the Cougars returned to their hotel to cap a long couple of days.

On Thursday, the team will meet the Chinese media in the morning and interact with Hefei basketball fans later in the afternoon. In between, the Cougars will visit the local markets where their bartering skills will be put to the test.

Fans can follow the Cougars on their 10-day trip to China by visiting uhcougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.

Upon arriving at their hotel in Hefei, Sampson and team officials learned an opponent change for their four straight games later this week. The Cougars will now face the Chinese Junior National Team in four games over four days, starting Friday evening.

The Cougars were originally scheduled to face the Jiangshu Dragons before that was adjust to the Shuangxin Double Dragons, both of the Chinese Basketball Association.

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. Chinese Junior National Team in Hefei
7:30 p.m. (China Standard Time)
Saturday, Aug. 15 Game 2 vs. Chinese Junior National Team in Wangjiang
7:30 p.m. (China Standard Time)
Sunday, Aug. 16 Game 3 vs. Chinese Junior National Team in Taihu
7:30 p.m. (China Standard Time)
Monday, Aug. 17 Game 4 vs. Chinese Junior National Team 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.

Following the opening game in Hefei, the Cougars will continue to face the Chinese Junior National Team 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.

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).

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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