It was a tough Tuesday for Houston Cougar hoops. A pair of guards UH hoped to have on the roster for the 2010-11 season will find themselves elsewhere.
First, point guard and Chicago native Fabyon Harris was released from the program for personal reasons. The story of Harris' life is a tragic one, and I had hoped he could have found a new lease on life in Houston, but it's understandable that coming down to Texas might not be what he wants right now.
Later in the day, the Coogs found out that Yates star Joseph Young had his appeal denied by the National Letter of Intent governing body. You may remember a feature written in these pages earlier this summer, which detailed Young's fight to get out of his commitment to Providence, and desire to stay close to home to be with his sick aunt. There was some expectation that Young would like to come home and play for the Cougars, which may still happen, but it will not be until the 2011-12 season at the earliest.
Despite Young's insistence that he will not leave for Providence, PC athletics director Bob Driscoll was proud of the spiteful victory his school scored:
The governing body of the NLI didn’t feel his appeal warranted a release and neither did I. It’s my feeling that he needs to fulfill his commitment.
The last 24 hours have provided perfect examples of the right and wrong ways to run an athletics department. You have Houston, who signed a talented kid with some personal trouble, and showed understanding and compassion when things didn't work out. Then you have Providence, who signed a talented kid with some personal trouble, and when things didn't work out, the school struck back, benefiting absolutely nobody. What a telling juxtaposition.
While Harris and Young won't make it to Hofheinz Pavilion this year, the Cougars do have some depth at the guard position. Zamal Nixon and Adam Brown return after playing significant minutes a year ago, sophomore Nick Haywood is a former Louisiana 5A player of the year, and junior college transfers Darian Thibodeaux and Trumaine Johnson could see the court right away.