9 stats: Kelvin’s culture of rebounding


Kelvin Sampson calls it the “relentlessness of rebounding” / Photo by Mario Puente

Kelvin Sampson has built his Houston program on toughness and rebounding. Specifically, he’s focused on offensive rebounding which KenPom and other ratings systems value as one of the four winning factors in basketball. Sampson finds players that are willing to commit to rebounding and buying into his system.

“I’ve always thought we were better evaluators than we were recruiters,” Sampson said after the Temple game. One of Sampson’s key evaluations came from the transfer portal – redshirt senior Justin Gorham. Sampson says Gorham has never rebounded at this level but on the other hand, “he’s never had it shoved down his throat every day, either.”

Today, Gorham might be the most valuable guy on the roster. Sampson has called him the team’s “identity guy” and said last night that “Justin embraces who we are because that’s who he is.”

Gorham and Shead trap the Dartmouth transfer

To celebrate Gorham and the program’s culture, here are nine rebounding stats on the #6 Houston Cougars:

1. Temple missed 38 reboundable shots (32 FG/6 FT) and UH grabbed 28 of those rebounds. UH missed 32 reboundable shots (30 FG/2 FT) and pulled down 15 of those boards. That’s 43 of 70 missed shots that the Cougars rebounded (61.4%).

2. In the last three games, UH has grabbed 128/219 (58.4%) of all reboundable shots and 48/107 (44.8%) of their own reboundable shots.

3. Houston’s 15 offensive rebounds were actually below their season average (16.0). The Cougars are #6 nationally in offensive boards.

4. Justin Gorham is second in the country in offensive rebounds per game (4.83). His 11 offensive boards against Alcorn State are tied for the most nationally in a game this season.

5. UH lost 57% of their offensive rebounding production from a year ago. Through six games, Gorham already has more offensive boards than he did in 31 games last year.

6. In two games vs. Temple in calendar-year 2019, UH was +2 in rebounds. In two games in 2020, the Cougars were +39.

7. The Coogs have been even or out-rebounded opponents in 37-straight games.

8. Quentin Grimes is 15th nationally in rebounding among guards. Grimes had 7+ rebounds just once last season. He’s done it in all six games this year.

9. Houston is #2 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage (43%).

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