My memory of the 2022-23 basketball season is that it feels like I covered this team for an eternity. Yet, somehow, I was only on this beat for about four months.
There are a lot of memories to choose from, but my favorite from this season would have to be Senior Night when the Cougars clinched the AAC championship. They cut down the nets, and, more importantly for me, I got to spend some final moments at the Fertitta Center with my fellow Daily Cougar colleagues and friends.
I decided to go to the Fertitta Center earlier than usual and probably arrived around three hours before tip-off. Hardly anyone was in the building aside from James Mueller, the Cougar sports Editor, who was always in the building long before anyone else, and a few staff and student managers here and there.
Not far behind me were three other Cougar coworkers, and we spent the next few hours just hanging out and talking. It wasn’t just Senior Night for the players; that game against Wichita State was the last time the five of us – Anh, James, Sean, Armando, and I – would be together to work a UH basketball game. Even Shasta decided to come up and converse (through writing) with us in press row.
When the Senior Night festivities began before the game, emotions began to flow through the building. Student manager Laith Akhras, who was one of my first feature interviews ever, was mobbed by the whole team while taking pictures in what was probably my favorite moment of the night. Then, Darius Bowser, Reggie Chaney, and Marcus Sasser received their recognition. Seeing Kelvin Sampson pull in Sasser for a tearful bear hug was special.
After the Cougars beat the Shockers, the absolute frenzy started. The nets were cut down; the court became a scramble of players, coaches, staff, families, and fans, and still, we had to get our postgame quotes somehow. So I decided to thank everyone who had been kind enough to be the subject of my more extensive features throughout the season.
Once the court cleared and we submitted our game stories, the five of us from the Cougar decided to spend some extra moments on the Fertitta floor. We took some photos for the road and went our merry way home for the final time.
Luckily, I get another year of covering Cougar basketball, and it’ll be even more intense with the Big 12 competition. But it won’t quite be the same without James, Armando, and Sean. I love those guys, and I’m not here without them. Though our time together is approaching, I’ll never forget those moments in Fertitta.
Would you like to participate? GoCoogs is writing an article with fan submissions of their favorite memories from the 2022-23 season. Be part of it!