Oct. 4, 2013
HOUSTON - The University of Houston Men's Basketball team took the first step in its 2013-14 season with the start of team practice inside Hofheinz Pavilion on Friday afternoon.
The Cougars worked out for close to three hours during Friday's workout. Nine lettermen and three starters return for the Cougars in 2013-14 after posting a 20-win season and advancing to the College Basketball Invitational Quarterfinals a year ago.
"I like our talent level. We have some size, we have some quickness and we are going to have good guard play. We have talented veterans and some good young players," said head coach James Dickey, who is now in his fourth year with the Cougars. "For us now, it's about putting the time in and getting a lot of repetitions.
Following the workout, head coach James Dickey said he was pleased with many facets of his team.
"I was really pleased with our guys. They were excited to get on the floor and be able to go longer," Dickey said. "The enthusiasm and effort were good. I was really pleased with the pace of our practice."
Although this time is celebrated as the start of men's basketball practice, that's not totally the case. The Cougars were able to work out as a team two hours as week for four weeks during the summer.
After reporting to school for classes in late August, the Cougars practiced in groups of four until Sept. 15 when the two-hour weekly limit as a team returned. Friday's practice marked the first time the Cougars worked out as a team with their time counting toward their 20-hour weekly limit.
Practicing together since the summer, the Cougars showed a close bond in their first practice, and Dickey looks to continue to grow that as the season progresses.
"There is some good camaraderie. It's too early to see what kind of chemistry we are going to have, but I like the closeness and the togetherness," Dickey said. "The players have a great feel for one another. One of the things that has been our theme all fall is `we'. The guys have embraced that, and we are working toward that."
Competing in the new American Athletic Conference for the first time, the Cougars will play 17 home games inside historic Hofheinz Pavilion this season, including games against perennial powers UConn, Cincinnati, Temple, Memphis and defending national champion Louisville.
Houston faces each member of the 10-team conference in home-and-away contests, beginning 8 p.m., Dec. 31 against UConn inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Each of the Cougars' 18 American Athletic Conference regular-season games will be televised nationally on the ESPN family of networks or CBS Sports Network.
Junior forward TaShawn Thomas posted 16.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game to rank among the Conference USA's top-five leaders in both categories and was named to the league's First Team and All-Defensive squad.
After averaging 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game during his inaugural collegiate season, forward Danuel House was an easy selection as the C-USA Freshman of the Year.
The season opens at 7 p.m., Nov. 5 with an exhibition contest against St. Thomas. The regular season tips off Nov. 8 against Texas State with both games inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
COUGAR RED MADNESS
Fans are invited to catch their first glimpse of the Men's and Women's teams during Cougar Red Madness. This exciting, annual event begins at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11, inside the Yeoman Fieldhouse in the Athletics/Alumni Center.
All fans are invited to this FREE event. Current UH students will receive free food and t-shirts while supplies last.
Dickey and Women's Head Coach Todd Buchanan will introduce the student-athletes from their respective teams, and players from both teams will take part in games throughout the night, including a 3-point shooting competition, a slam dunk contest and a 2-ball competition, featuring lucky students.
A year ago, House claimed the title in the slam-dunk contest, while Women's guard Porsche Landry took home the title in the 3-point shooting event. Now, the Men want to own both crowns, but the Women aren't ready to relinquish their title.
BUY SEASON TICKETS
General Admission season tickets start for as low as $195, while the Memorial Hermann Family Fun Plan of two adult and two youth General Admission tickets can be purchased for only $399.
In addition to the 17 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion, the Cougars' season-ticket package also includes both games of the Lone Star Showcase inside Toyota Center. Houston meets crosstown rival Rice at 3:30 p.m., Dec. 21, in the first game with Texas A&M facing Oklahoma at 6 p.m., Dec. 21, in the nightcap.
Purchasing Houston Men's Basketball season tickets provides admission to both games of this exciting twinbill.
HOW TO ORDER
To purchase season tickets, fans can call 713-Go-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or online at UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
To secure parking spaces and to support student-athlete scholarships through Cougar Pride for the upcoming season, fans should contact Cougar Pride at 713-743-GoUH or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans also can visit UHCougars.com and click the Cougar Pride tab for more information.
Fans are encouraged to purchase their season tickets early for the best seats in the house.