ANGELO STATE RAMS at HOUSTON COUGARS
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Kelvin Sampson
“Exhibition games are what they are. They give us a chance to coach the way you’re not going to coach in a regular game. I don't think I'm going to be playing 12 guys a lot of minutes, and we played 10 guys at least 12 minutes. I've never done that in my life, ever. I saw a lot of good things. We missed 32 shots tonight, got 19 offensive rebounds. That's a good thing. We had 22 assists, that's a good thing. This early in the year there are certain things you want to see that you've been working on. You’re not going to cut down your turnovers this early in the year, that's a process. I saw some things that got me excited, then I saw some things made me realize that, ‘you know it's November 5th we’ve got a long way to go’”.
On team depth
“Our depth is where our greatest weakness has been in the past. I have to be very smart to figure out where our weaknesses were the last couple years. The answer is not to keep saying here's what your weaknesses are, it is to do something about it. That’s where recruiting comes in, but you have to understand where we were. We're rebuilding and we're not there yet.
Most are guys have had 23 to 24 practices under their belt and Cedrick (Alley Jr.) has had four or five practices, so he's way behind. He's a kid that can catch up quickly. Fabian (White Jr.), we feel like we're solid on both post positions. We haven't even talked about going small. We can go small with Nura (Zanna) and Devin (Davis) or with Fabian, whereas last year our four-man was docked. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but we got killed on the boards with that line up because of the other three guards.
This team has a chance to be our best tea, but we're still a work-in-progress. We have to get our rotation down. The problem with so many different substitution patterns is that you have guys playing together that haven't played together really all fall. That's where you are going to have defensive breakdowns.
We're going to go as far our senior class takes us. I'll say this in front of them, they’ve got to start imposing their will on this team defensively. They don't get a chance to come down this block again. They're gone after this year, so for us to have the kind of year we think we have a chance to have, I think it's going to come down to the leadership from our senior class.”
On going to the post
“You saw that tonight and it wasn't an accident. We're throwing it down there obviously, but Breaon (Brady), Nura (Zanna), Devin (Davis) and Fabian (White Jr.), all those guys are still works in progress. Chris (Harris Jr.) is 6’10’’ and you can see where his size was a factor on the boards tonight. I'm excited about developing Chris, he's going to be a good player.”
On Rob Gray
“It’s hard to get an assist when the guy you’re passing to can’t score. But Rob is good at distributing. He’s not our point guard, but he's our best play maker. When I want to run a special play on the baseline out-of-bounds, Rob takes it in because he's our best passer. Rob has great confidence, there's a lot of Baker Mayfield in Rob Gray. He doesn't back down from anything. He is a great competitor, but Rob has to start imposing his will on the younger guys about defensive breakdowns.”
HOUSTON SENIOR FORWARD Nura Zanna
On his senior year and first game
“I slacked off a lot during periods of the game. When it came to rebounding offensively and defensively, I could’ve gave a better effort. I need to go harder next game to contribute to the team’s success more.”
On his first year with the team
“Getting comfortable with my teammates has been where I have focused most of my efforts. Playing with Devin (Davis), Rob (Gray), and Chris (Harris Jr.) has been good for me, because they have taught me a lot of things I didn’t know before. I am trying to get better both offensively and defensively. I know there are times where I’m not going as hard as I need to be, but having those guys hold me accountable by calling me out on my mistakes and helping me correct them is helpful. Also, just being around great players that I know will keep pushing me harder and competing with me is excellent for the team.”
HOUSTON SENIOR FORWARD Devin Davis
On senior year & imposing will as an upperclassmen
“Coach Sampson is completely right. I didn’t feel as though I was doing my job during the second half. How we came out the first four minutes of the second half could have been better and it has a lot to do with my leadership role on this team. As the season progresses, we will see.”
On difference in the team’s chemistry this year from last year
“We have great depth on our team, which means we don’t have a lot of room for mistakes. If we are not doing our job correctly, someone is going to get benched. We have to be mentally tough during every play to achieve our ultimate goal this season, which is to bring a championship to Houston and Coach Sampson. We have to keep grinding it out in practice and during the games. I feel like we have a good chance of making it happen.”