J’Wan Roberts Says The Coogs Have Another Level


Houston only allowed 56 points to Temple, giving up just 14 field goals, but at Monday’s post-practice availability, the UH media focused most of their questions on defense instead of other obvious issues. To his credit, center J’Wan Roberts was blunt about his team’s defense: it’s still not good enough. He feels the team’s defense has underperformed at times and has room to improve.

“We can definitely go to a higher level,” Roberts said. “I feel like sometimes we underachieve, which is not good…but we have another level to us, guaranteed.”

“It’s just the urge of ‘want to,'” Roberts said about limiting the opponent’s looks at the basket. “Not letting this person get off a certain amount of threes, not letting this person go to the free throw line…and going forward we’re going to have to be better.”

Kelvin Sampson has built the team’s identity around defense and rebounding, and Roberts did not mince words when asked about how the team has done with the latter.

“You’ve got to want to rebound. The ball is not just going to come to you. It’s a competition between you and the other player. It’s all about competing,” Roberts said. “We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve been outrebounded, this year. And that’s not something that Houston is based off of, so we’ve got to get back on track.”

The Cougars focus on all players on the court being accountable for rebounding. Roberts said that if the team wants to make a run in the tournament and beyond, all of them need to engage in the rebounding effort, regardless of position.

“Everybody on the team is a rebounder: guards and bigs,” Roberts said. “Rebounding is a big key and everyone needs to get on board.”

Roberts said the ideal situation is a guard getting a rebound so they can start the fastbreak sooner. The Coogs had averaged 16 points off the fast break in the prior five games but only had six against Temple.

Houston will fly to Orlando early Tuesday afternoon and will conduct a practice at UCF before watching more film tonight.

Below are the highlights from the J’Wan Roberts portion of Monday’s media availability, condensed to four minutes due to a new UH rule preventing media outlets from sharing more.

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