Thank you for this ride, Cougar Basketball

I can’t get all the “what ifs” out of my head.

I am sad. I am sad that this 2023-2024 season is over and that it ended in such a heartbreaking manner.

the daily #239 | 4/1/2024 | Archives

On the other hand, when I step back and pause for a moment, I am extremely proud and grateful for this team and this program. I love these players and coaches not because of the final destination but for the journey they shared with us. I love watching the players and the team develop and grow. I love it when you see the light come on for players, and I love to watch how the team comes together in the best and worst of times.

We know this team’s resume. This team won 32 games, did not spend a week outside the AP top 10, and spent 15 weeks in the top five and three weeks at #1. This team won the Big 12 title by two games in its first year in the conference, UH’s third-straight regular-season conference championship (something that has never been done at UH).

This team made its sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance and fifth straight trip to at least the Sweet 16, which has also never been done before at UH.

Those numbers and stats make this team great. Those numbers put the team among the elite in college basketball. Those numbers aren’t what makes this team special. This team’s heart, tenacity, determination, selflessness, attitude, love for one another, and humility is what makes them special.

This program overcame a lot. Before the season started, they were dealt the worst blow, losing their brother and heartbeat of the program, Reggie Chaney. It was an unthinkable loss, especially for the players that had grown up with Reggie leading the way. The only thing they could do was lean on each other and go through that storm together.

The team worked through the fall and started the year on a long winning streak. In mid-December, the team lost Terrance Arceneaux to injury. They suffered rare back-to-back losses early in the conference season but regrouped and kept moving forward.

In late February, Ramon Walker went down with an injury thought to be season-ending. A week later, JoJo Tugler left practice in a walking boot, and it was revealed a few days later that he’d broken a bone in his foot. But the team never blinked, and won pivotal road games in overtime at Baylor (two days after Walker’s injury) and a buzzer-beater at Oklahoma (two days after he was seen in a boot). The team kept their composure and moved forward with a shortened bench, winning the last two regular season games at UCF and by 30 over Kansas on March 9th. With an Iowa State loss that day, the Cougars claimed the Big 12 championship and cut the nets down.

Flash forward to the NCAA Tournament, specifically the round of 32 and the Sweet 16. Those two games were the full display of this program’s culture. Sports are filled with cliches like “never quit” or “next man up.” Others say, “You are only as strong as your weakest link” and “culture.” But those cliches are real life in this program and the players embody them every day. These players poured their heart and soul out for all to see.

Against Texas A&M, with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line, UH basketball showed the country what this program truly is about. Every available player on the roster was called on and each delivered. After losing a double-digit lead late in the game, it went to overtime. By then end, four starters had fouled out of the game. Again, the team stepped up and pushed forward. Walk-on Ryan Elvin hit a free throw to make it a two-possession game, sealing the victory.

Against Duke, it was another verse of the same story. J’wan Roberts was on the bench with two early fouls when Jamal Shead drove to the basket to extend the Cougar lead to eight. But Shead rolled his ankle and was lost for the last 26+ minutes of the game. The consensus First-Team All-American was out but the team kept grinding. They trailed by a point at the half and never let Duke out of their sights, but they could never take the lead. They came up four points short, but they proved the culture of this program.

I will miss this special team and this special group of players. I will miss getting to experience them fighting together and for each other and overcoming so much adversity. But I will always be thankful for everything they did for me as a fan, for this UH basketball community, and for all the lessons and joy they provided along the way.

Thank you with all my heart! Thank you.




Subscribe to @GoCoogs on YouTube for more of our player interviews and coverage of the 2023-24 Basketball Team and the 2024 Cougar Football Team.

Brad Towns
Brad Towns
Towns is a former UH athlete, having played baseball for the Cougars in the mid-90's. He is most famous for walking 9 LSU batters in just 3 innings vs. LSU. He also fired a 2-hit complete game shutout of SFA.

More Features

Retire #1

Against Texas A&M, Jamal Shead was 0/5 on threes. He missed a critical free throw late in the game, barely hitting the front rim....

Kelvin Sampson keeps surprising

Kelvin Sampson heard the fan. Then he smiled at him. Even winked at him. Gave him a thumbs up. Spoke to him. And moments...

Jamal Shead gets the message and Houston romps

KANSAS CITY - He tried to block a shot but landed on Lamar Washington's foot, the fluorescent green and red shoes contrasting on the...

On and off the court, Jamal Shead is a selfless leader

Jamal Shead has really been my brother. We work out together every single day, and outside of basketball, we kick it all the time....

The normalcy of high expectations

NORMAN, Oklahoma - I want to be like Jamal Shead when I grow up. Talented. Capable. Charismatic. Respected. Dependable. Tenacious. Polished. Worker. Confident. Disciplined. Fearless....

Hollis Price and Quannas White: Ninth Ward to Norman

NORMAN, Oklahoma - More than a city, New Orleans is a collection of neighborhoods. Asked where y’at, a local could rattle off any of...