Nov. 9, 2011
HOUSTON - With two of the nation's top players, the University of Houston men's basketball inked one of the country's premier signing classes Wednesday, head coach James Dickey announced.
Forwards Danuel House (6-7, 195, Hightower HS) and Danrad "Chicken" Knowles (6-10, 190, Homeschool Christian Youth Association) will join the Cougars in 2012-13 as freshmen and have four years of eligibility.
The signing class - which ranks among the best in school history - is rated in the nation's top 20 by three media organizations. Houston stands at No. 10 by Rivals.com, at No. 13 by Scout.com and at No. 20 by ESPN.
Both House (No. 15) and Knowles (No. 56) are ranked among the ESPNU 100. With their signing, the Cougars now have four student-athletes from that national list, joining freshman forward TaShawn Thomas (No. 92 in 2011) and redshirt freshman guard Joseph Young (No. 98 in 2010).
"We have such an outstanding group of student-athletes. They are high-caliber individuals and high-level players," said head coach James Dickey, who in in his second season with the Cougars. "These were players we targeted early in the recruiting process. To be able to sign the players you want is exciting for our program, our University, our city and the future of Cougar Basketball."
Dickey was quick to praise the work of his coaching staff. Associate head coach Alvin Brooks and assistant coaches Daniyal Robinson and Ulric Maligi joined the Cougars in the spring of 2010 and immediately hit the recruiting trail. On Wednesday, their hard work paid off.
"I have the best coaching staff in the country. They are quality men, outstanding mentors. They know the game and are terrific recruiters," Dickey said. "They have worked hard since we have been here. We made a strong commitment early to recruit the city of Houston, the greater Houston area and the state of Texas."
As pleased as he was with the signing class, Dickey said this season was only the beginning to a bright future for the Cougars.
"We have a special University and a special opportunity for young men to go to school, play basketball and receive a great education. Our task is to build on that," Dickey said. "These guys are going to help us recruit other players in the future as did the class that came in this year. We must continue to build on this, but there is no doubt in my mind that this class makes a statement about our University and our program."
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON MEN'S BASKETBALL SIGNEES
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl.-Exp. Hometown-High School Danuel House F 6-7 195 Fr.-HS Sugar Land, Texas-Hightower Danrad Knowles F 6-10 190 Fr.-HS Houston, Texas-Homeschool Christian Youth Association
A 6-7, 195-pound product out of Hightower High, House emerged in the national spotlight during the summer as one of the country's most sought-after recruits. Tabbed a 5-star recruit by Rivals.com, the Sugar Land, Texas, native ranked at No. 15 in the ESPNU 100 and came in as the No. 3 small forward nationally by ESPN.
House also checked in at No. 14 nationally, according to Bob Gibbons All Star Scouting.
As a junior in 2010-11, he was an All-District 23-5A First-Team honoree and helped lead the Hurricanes to the semifinals of the state playoffs in Austin. During the summer, he led the Texas PRO AAU team to an overtime win with 25 points against the Georgia Stars in a televised game on ESPNU.
"When we arrived here in the spring of 2010, we followed Danuel immediately and he has had a terrific summer. Danuel plays hard on both ends of the floor and is a special talent," Dickey said. "He is an explosive perimeter player that is a high flier. He can shoot the ball and is very competitive."
House chose Houston over Georgetown, Ohio State, Baylor, Texas and Kansas. During summer play, he was a teammate of Knowles on the Texas PRO AAU team.
DANRAD "CHICKEN" KNOWLES
Knowles joins the Cougars as a 6-10, 190-pound forward from the Homeschool Christian Youth Association in Houston. He begins his senior season ranked at No. 47 in the Rivals.com 150 and was listed as a 4-star recruit by ESPN.
Knowles also ranked at No. 65 nationally by Bob Gibbons All Star Scouting.
As a junior, he helped lead the HYCA Warriors to the New School Division Gold Ball national championship and received Homeschool All-America honors for his impressive efforts.
"We saw Danrad early, and he has continued to improve. He is a skilled player who can face up, handle the ball and he can shoot it," Dickey said. "Danrad is a big-time talent."
Knowles chose Houston over Baylor and Arkansas.