Nate Hinton had the potential to be a First-Team AAC player this season but has instead decided to turn pro. Hinton had a great sophomore campaign and with 10 PPG, 8 RPG from the Guard/ wing position. Kelvin Sampson called him the best rebounding guard he’s ever coached, which hard to disagree with based on his stats. While this is the good, realistically Hinton is probably a fringe NBA draft pick, he maybe could be a 2nd round but that’s unlikely. This is a very puzzling decision for the highest rated recruit of the Kelvin Sampson era.
The Cougars were likely to be a preseason Top-10 team and the AAC Favorites and now that has changed. Hinton was vital and a key piece of the team’s success these past two seasons, Houston was hurt by players leaving early last season, most particularly with Armoni Brooks who later went undrafted like Hinton might. While this is a major loss, Houston still returns a lot and so now it’s time to examine how their season may go.
PG- Quinten Grimes, The former Kansas Guard transferred back home to Texas. This was a weird situation in which he was in the draft came back along with Devon Dotson back to school, but they only had one scholorsip remaining so they decided to give it to Dotson rather thsn Grimes, so he transferred to Houston and got immediate eligibility. Grimes stepped it up later in the season, but was wildly inconsistent at times and was even put on the Bench near the end of the season where he flourished but I think he’s going to be much better this season.
SG- Caleb Mills, I think is the best pure scorer on this team, drive to the rim with great intensity and can drive through contact, and a good shooter at 36% this team may just go as far as Caleb Mills takes them
SF DeJon Jarreau (Testing Waters) – Jarreau the now Senior may be the most important player to the Cougars. He’s a great defender, a solid rebounder, a good passer, and he’s good getting to the rim. All of these are good but the fact he only shot 17% from beyond the arc last season, leaves room for concern. Jarreau did shoot 36% the previous season so not quite sure how it dropped so much but it should be somewhere in the 30’s and he’ll continue to be a leader of this team
PF- Brison Greshan, the former UMass player who transferred to Houston along with DeJon Jarreau enters his senior season after a pretty pedestrian Junior season, only having 3 PPG, 2 RPG in 15 MPG, they’ll need him to just beef up his stats pretty empty stats at the moment, they’ll need him to do something as a Senior
C- Fabian White Jr, entering his senior season he was the main force down-low last season in a season in which the Cougars would’ve made the tournament. White had 9 PPG and 6 RPG while being really good defensively down-low. He needs to stay clear of foul trouble and he’ll continue putting up a solid stat-line
Bench: Justin Gorham, Marcus Sasser, J’Wan Roberts, Tramon Mack, Jamal Shead, Kiyron Powell.
Kelvin Sampson has to piece together how he’ll replace Hinton but the Cougars should still be ranked in the preseason. SMU is right there with them, which includes passing Houston in my AAC rankings, and they very well might anyways. In what could be a down year for the AAC, Houston will need to play up to potential and do so without Nate Hinton.