HOUSTON - The University of Houston Men's Basketball program officially began the 2014-15 season on Monday afternoon inside Hofheinz Pavilion with the start of team practice.
The Cougars worked out for about three hours under new Head Coach Kelvin Sampson in a pair of different locations, although that wasn't part of the original plan. A power outage knocked out the lights in Hofheinz Pavilion and the Athletics facilities about two hours into the workout, forcing the team to head to the Yeoman Fieldhouse inside the nearby Athletics/Alumni Center.
After about 20 minutes there, power was restored, and Houston wrapped up its first workout of the season inside its home arena. Despite the electrical issues, Sampson was pleased with his team's first practice.
"It was a good start. We are all starting together," said Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, who begins his 26th season as a collegiate head coach in 2014-15. "Our culture revolves around playing with enthusiasm, playing with emotion, playing hard and competing. Our core values are getting 50-50 balls, rebounding both ends and playing with great pace."
To achieve those expectations, the Cougars worked in a variety of challenging drills to test their individual and group toughness. Players went diving across the floor against one another for loose balls and shot free throws with the threat of running after misses at stake.
In the Bubble Drill, a bumpy, plastic contraption was placed like a lid on the top of a rim. That turned every shot into a rebounding opportunity and led to an all-out scrum among the players for the loose ball.
Under Sampson's leadership in 2014-15, the Cougars will play host in showdowns against defending NCAA national champion UConn, defending American Athletic Conference champion Cincinnati, SMU, Memphis, Rice and more.
Eight teams on Houston's schedule - UConn (32), Cincinnati (27), Harvard (27), SMU (27), Memphis (24), Murray State (23), Boise State (21) and Tulsa (21) - won at least 20 games a year ago with five of those - UConn, Harvard, Memphis, Cincinnati and Tulsa - competing in the NCAA Tournament.
Season ticket packages start for as low as $99 for 17 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. The Memorial Hermann Family Plan, which includes two adult and two kids' season tickets, can be purchased for only $399 for the entire 17-game home schedule.
Fans can purchase season tickets online by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by visiting uhcougars.com/mbbtickets. To view a map of Hofheinz Pavilion with season ticket pricing, fans can click here.
Fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
All UH main campus students are admitted FREE to regular-season Men's Basketball home games with a valid student ID.
Tickets for groups of 10 or more can be purchased for as low as $9 per ticket in Reserved 3 (Section 101-102, 115-116, 126-128) for 17 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Groups of 10 or more can buy tickets for only $14 per ticket in the Reserved 2 (Sections 103-104, 109-111, 117-119 and 124-125), while Reserved 3 seats (Section 105-108, 120-123) are available at $19 per ticket.
The ticket cost per person falls even more for groups of 25 or more. Group administrators are encouraged to call or visit the Athletics Ticket Office soon to secure their seats.
For a map of Hofheinz Pavilion group seating sections and prices, fans can click here. Fans can purchase group tickets online by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Sampson became the ninth coach in school history with his hiring in April. In 25 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he has compiled 500 victories while leading his teams to 13 NCAA Tournaments, including the 2002 NCAA Final Four.
As head coach at Oklahoma from 1994 to 2006, he guided the Sooners to four conference titles and 10 consecutive 20-win seasons.
Sampson inherits a team that returns five lettermen and three starters. Junior guard Jherrod Stiggers enters 2014-15 as the Cougars' leading returning scorer with 11.2 points per game and has established himself as one of the premier 3-point shooters in school history.
Junior point guard L.J. Rose totaled 8.9 points per game and led Houston and the American Athletic Conference with 5.5 assists per contest during his first season in the Scarlet and White. Sophomore forward Danrad Knowles gave Houston fans glimpses of a promising future with 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a redshirt freshman in 2013-14.
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.