Dusty Vandenberg: UH basketball is all about family

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Kevin M Cox/AP/Shutterstock (13790487y) Houston coach Kelvin Sampson cuts down the net while holding his grandson Kylen Sampson, in celebration of Houston winning the American Athletic Conference regular-season championship, following the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Wichita State, in Houston Wichita St Basketball, Houston, United States – 02 Mar 2023

Dusty Vandenberg: UH basketball is all about family


When the Houston Cougars became part of the Jordan Brand, the apparel for the players and fans became elevated.

I bought tons of Jordan Brand UH gear and wanted to get my dad some too. My favorite simply has the Jumpman logo, the UH logo, and the word “family.” “Family” has become a cliché of sorts in both the sports and business worlds. For Houston basketball, it’s more than a word on a shirt – it is accurate. Coach Sampson has his son Kellen and his daughter Lauren working for him in the program. You can often see him holding his grandson and granddaughter before and after games. Coach Sampson has also said, “I learned a long time ago, if you don’t want problems, don’t recruit problems.”

Cougars fans know Sampson doesn’t just want great basketball players, he wants great people, and great people come from great families. Last night, via his NIL deal with the Coogs, Mattress Mack provided the funds for the players and their families to all go out to eat together. I saw that for the Cougars, the players’ grace, generosity, and kindness come from their wonderful families. They are all so thankful to be here in this moment. While there’s much anticipation for what’s ahead, everyone was living in the moment at dinner Friday night.

The players’ families now have formed one huge family. While the arena was filled with Auburn orange and blue on Saturday night, the Cougar Family is a force to be reckoned with.

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