Friday, January 29, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 82

Owen s, others look to impress NFL at Senior Bowl

About the Cougar

The great UH tradition lives on

Transfer student-athletes come in and make immediate impact for Cougars

By Matt Jackson

Say What?

D. Ryan Monceaux

For years and years, there has been a bias against college teams signing junior college transfers. The stigma opposing this is the belief that JCs cannot revitalize the lifeblood of the team.

Houston, which has long been associated with transfer and non-traditional students, is now a hotbed for transfering student-athletes. A lot of people think this is a negative development, but I tend to disagree. The fact is that many of the JCs that Houston has signed recently can and are the lifeblood of teams that are attempting to recover from the depths of medicority.

Jerrian James was arguably the best playmaker for Kim Helton's 1998 squad. James caught more passes than any other player on the team and gained more yards than any receiver in his first year on the team. The only catch is that James is a JC transfer from Navarro JC.

Jerrian James was on of the Cougars' oustanding layers last season. He transfered from Navarro Jurnior College prior  to the 1998-99 academic year.

Barry Watson/The Daily Cougar

Mike Green, the fullback who caught a 57-yard pass late in the game against ECU to set up the winning score, is also a junior college transfer. Green, who is supposed to get more playing time next season, directly impacted the end-result of one of UH's three wins.

Patterson Owens and Vaughn Inniss are also JC transfers who have made a difference in the last two years for Cougar football. This season, Helton looks to sign up to 14 junior college players to add to his roster.

Helton, who at his first press conference with the Cougars said he would not pursue junior college players, has become reliant on them. Junior college players will make up a large chunk of his team next year as Helton looks to win and win quickly with players who generally have more maturity and a better understanding of football at this level. And Helton will expect them to step up after back-to-back 3-8 seasons.

For Clyde Drexler's inaugural basketball team, the team looks to Gee Gervin to be the guiding light for the Cougars. Gervin is averaging over 21 points per game in his first season at UH, and he leads the C-USA. He, too, is a JC transfer, and he led San Jacinto with 16.4 points per game last season.

Gervin has come in and taken over the struggling team, accepting the blame for losses and deserving the credit for many of UH's seven wins. Gervin was Drexler's first signee, and not his last; Blinn College's Chris Andersen was signed early in November.

The Lady Cougar basketball program, suffering through a 5-14 record this season, sees help on the horizon as Joe Curl and company look to sign a recruiting class in April filled with JC talent. Curl thinks several of the incoming players, totaling at least five for next season alone, will make an immediate impact.

The message is that junior college players can be intricate parts of an athletic program. Football and men's basketball have their team leaders coming from the ranks of junior colleges. The problem seems not to be if you sign JCs, but what quality of a player you sign. James, Green and Gervin have all proven that you can get quality people out of JCs.

A lot of alumni and fans seem to be worried about the number of junior college players that are going to be signed next Wednesday by Helton. Granted, 14 is a lot, but the quantity is not hurting the quality of players Houston is getting. If junior college recruiting classes were ranked, UH would be near the top.

It seems futile to expect everyone to accept junior college transfers like they would a high school signee. But if UH keeps taking impact players, I see no wrong in trying to reinvent the dominance Houston was once known for.

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