Oct. 21, 2010
HOUSTON - The University of Houston men's and women's basketball teams moved a step closer to the 2010-11 season with the annual Tip-Off Luncheon presented by Cougar Pride on Thursday afternoon.
SportsTalk 790 AM morning host Matt Jackson served as master of ceremonies at the event, which was held at the Hilton-University of Houston on campus.
Following a welcome and thanks from Houston Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades, women's first-year head coach Todd Buchanan introduced his coaching and support staffs before recognizing the 2010-11 student-athletes.
Once the women's introductions were finished, Jackson returned to the podium and enjoyed a question-and-answer session with senior forward Courtney Taylor, the reigning Conference USA Player of the Year and the 2010 C-USA Preseason Player of the Year.
The Crockett, Texas, native earned applause from the fans in attendance when she said the team was working hard with an NCAA Tournament berth as a team goal. Taylor also enjoyed some big laughs from the group when refusing to answer a question about how angry Buchanan can get at practice.
From there, first-year men's head coach James Dickey recognized his coaching and support staffs before asking his men's basketball student-athletes to stand up by class.
Jackson then spoke with senior guard Zamal Nixon in the men's Q-and-A session about the team's chances for success in 2010-11 and how the first two weeks of practice were going. Nixon also played hardball at times with Jackson, refusing to answer which teammate is slowest during wind sprints in practice.
Cougar Pride is an organization of alumni, fans, former student-athletes, coaches and friends joining together to ensure current student-athletes have a first-class education and a chance to excel in the classroom and on the playing field.
The annual cost per full scholarship for the 2009-10 academic year is more than $17,500.
Fans and businesses have numerous options in giving to Cougar Pride. For more information about donating to Cougar Pride, fans can call (713) 743-4684 from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit the web site at UHCougars.com/Cougar-Pride.
ABOUT THE MEN'S TEAM
A year ago, the Cougars used a strong surge at the end of the season to win four straight games in as many days to claim the GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship title and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly two decades.
With seven returning players from that team and an award-winning signing class, Dickey and his coaches are planning for an exciting 2010-11 campaign.
Houston has enjoyed tremendous success in front of the hometown fans inside Hofheinz Pavilion during recent years. The Cougars have won at least 10 home games in each of the last six seasons, a first since the facility opened with nine consecutive 10+-win home seasons.
The men's team opens its season on Nov. 6 against Abilene Christian in an exhibition game and begins the regular season Nov. 12 against Nicholls State.
ABOUT THE WOMEN'S TEAM
Led by Taylor, the Cougars earned 17 wins and advanced to the semifinals of the Conference USA Championship. Houston also competed in the postseason for the first time in four years with a trip to the WNIT before falling at Texas Tech.
Houston returns six starters and 11 players from last year's team, which tied for second in the league.
Taylor averaged 15.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game on the way to setting the school record for career double-doubles. Guard Brittney Scott led the Cougars with 17.3 points per game on the way to being named to the All-Conference USA Second Team.
Both Taylor and Scott were named to the 2010 Preseason All-Conference USA Team earlier this month.
The women's team plays host to the Houston Jaguars on Nov. 8 before starting the regular season Nov. 14 against UT Arlington.
Fans can purchase men's basketball season tickets now. General admission season tickets sell for only $135, while reserved season tickets can be purchased for only $195.
Fans also can buy the men's Family Fun Plan, which includes two adult and two youth general admission season tickets, for only $299. Additional youth season tickets can be purchased for only $75 each in the Plan.
Women's basketball season tickets are on sale now, and fans are encouraged to purchase early. Floor seat season tickets are available for $200 with general admission season tickets selling for only $75.
Fans have several options when ordering their basketball season tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center by the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or click the Tickets link at UHCougars.com to buy season tickets today.